HELCOM maintains its position as the most advanced Regional Agreement in Europe when it comes to oiled wildlife preparedness and response policy. This year, Expert Working Group Meetings have continued, an online seminar on cross border cooperation in wildlife incidents was held and a number of important proposals have been discussed and adopted by HELCOM Response.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, conferences everywhere are being cancelled, however, the Arctic Preparedness Platform for Oil Spill and Other Environmental Accidents (APP4SEA) elected to hold a Twitter conference, at which Sea Alarm was an invited participant.
In February 2020, Sea Alarm’s Hugo Nijkamp attended the 27th HELCOM Response meeting in Vejle, Denmark where the integration of all aspects of at sea response, shoreline response and wildlife response was a key topic.
Sea Alarm’s participation in HELCOM RESPONSE concentrates around various topics intended to ensure wildlife response is well-integrated into overall oil spill response in the Baltic region.
The Expert Working group on Oiled Wildlife Response (EWG-OWR), which Sea Alarm chairs, recently held its 10th meeting.
In October 2017, the HELCOM Expert Working Group on Oiled Wildlife Response organized a three-day event which included a working group meeting, wildlife response manager training and a stakeholder exchange of current activities and good practices.
Of the nine coastal states in the Baltic Region, five have developed plans for oiled wildlife response and others have made progress toward this goal, according to a HELCOM report.
How prepared are we for oiled wildlife response?
This is a question regularly considered by the HELCOM Response (Baltic Sea Area) Expert Working Group on Oiled Wildlife Response (EWR-OWR), chaired by Sea Alarm.
To help with making an accurate assessment of their level of preparedness, the Working Group decided to develop a self-assessment tool to aid countries in gauging and reporting on their progress toward preparedness for response to oiled wildlife.
Having just reported that HELCOM Response was recommending stronger oiled wildlife response targets, Sea Alarm is pleased to note that on 3 October, the 2013 Copenhagen Ministerial Meeting of HELCOM, the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, has agreed on those targets.
Following Hugo Nijkamp’s presentation of a joint Sea Alarm and WWF-Finland paper, HELCOM Response has recommended strengthening targets for integrating wildlife response into Baltic area oil spill response planning.
A major part of Sea Alarm’s work is assisting coastal governments, NGOs and other agencies in preparedness for an oiled wildlife response. Regular meetings, trainings and exercises of response plans ensure on-going readiness to respond to wildlife threatened by oil spills.
Sea Alarm is continuing its efforts to help Baltic countries to develop their oiled wildlife preparedness by assisting with organisation of two international events in 2012. These events had been proposed as part of a HELCOM Work Programme on Oiled Wildlife Preparedness and Response, submitted by Estonia, Sea Alarm and WWF Finland and adopted in 2010.