Sea Alarm’s Hugo Nijkamp was present at the OTSOPA meeting, held in Rotterdam from 26-28 May. He reported on recent developments in the European scene of oiled wildlife response and preparedness, including the EMPOWER initiative, the decision by Helcom Response to include oiled wildlife response in the Response Manual, and the upcoming Effects of Oil on Wildlife (EOW) Conference. OTSOPA is the technical committee of the Bonn Agreement, the regional agreement for mutual oil pollution response cooperation between coastal states in the North East Atlantic.
Following this presentation, OTSOPA decided to include a chapter on oiled wildlife response in the Bonn Agreement Counter-Pollution Manual, which is a significant step towards the further recognition of integrated oiled wildlife response.
After the Helsinki Convention, the Bonn Agreement is now the second regional agreement to start integrating oiled wildlife response into their mutual assistance procedures. The other regional agreements,, the Barcelona Convention (Mediterranean Sea) and the Bucharest Convention (Black Sea) have also expressed interest in the integration of oiled wildlife response.
OTSOPA Contracting Parties agreed as a first step to prepare an overview of their national wildlife response procedures, which will be compiled by the Bonn Agreement Secretariat into a draft chapter for the Manual, for consideration at OTSOPA 2010. The Summary Record of the meeting can be downloaded at http://www.bonnagreement.org/eng/html/welcome.html.