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Sea Alarm’s first 20 years: Encouraging and informing national processes

Throughout its 20 years of existence, Sea Alarm has assisted many European countries by motivating, initiating, informing and facilitating national processes, with the aim of raising awareness and improving response planning and capacity building.

As part of our efforts over the years, Sea Alarm has been working to improve the capability, efficiency and coordination of wildlife responders intending to deal with animals impacted by oil pollution from marine emergencies. Many past oil spill events have demonstrated that the success of a response depends, not only on the knowledge and experience of responders who can successfully treat animals, but also on concerted action based on the scale of the incident, the resources available, the quality of facilities, the decision making process and the authorities leading the efforts, all as part of the larger emergency response.

Sea Alarm has always been keen to learn from actions  that seem to work well, e.g. by attending and evaluating oil spill events, talking with responders and response groups, organising and attending discussions, workshops, trainings and table top exercises. We have always aimed to share our most recent insights with individuals and organisations who wanted to learn and get better, and who wanted to make a difference in their own country to take steps towards a nationally recognised, professional approach based on science, planning and preparedness.

Sea Alarm worked to enhance these intentions by assisting parties in a number of ways, for example, through exploring solutions and discussing bottlenecks and road blocks in a multi-stakeholder environment. We acted, and continue to act, as an impartial facilitator to help people with different backgrounds understand circumstances and each other better, creating pathways toward solutions and cooperation by:
• Reporting on case histories and lessons learnt.
• Providing guidance on good practices emerging internationally.
• Informing parties regarding planning and preparedness systems that were set up and working elsewhere.
• Assisting local parties in organising multi-stakeholder events in order to find ways via informed discussions to fill gaps, or initiate planning processes.
• Supporting experts or expert organisations from one country, in sharing their knowledge and experience with another country via workshops or training events.
• Bringing parties together in international conferences or workshops to raise awareness, connecting people, generating conclusions or developing tools and recommendations that would energise new processes and follow-up activities.

Throughout its history, Sea Alarm has worked in many countries, collaborated with many organisations and supported many key individuals who wanted to make progress. The interactive map below gives more information on Sea Alarm’s involvement with projects in Europe.


This long list of activities is a testament to Sea Alarm’s efforts to support processes that have led to many milestones being achieved:
• A number of countries have developed oiled wildlife response plans.
• Authorities and NGOs in some countries are respectfully working together, exploring new and promising solutions.
• International guidelines for planning and preparedness have been agreed between countries and scheduled for implementation at national levels.
• Expert groups have joined forces and cooperate as part of formalised national or international networks.
• International authority working groups are being created.
• Good practices have been developed and are there to be trained and exercised.

After 20 years, oiled wildlife response preparedness has not developed at the same level everywhere and authorities are not involved in wildlife response preparedness in every European country. But lots of promising and constructive initiatives are running by themselves; and for interested parties there is a diverse range of people, organisations or processes available to learn from. Sea Alarm is motivated to continue providing assistance and guidance to both new and existing initiatives.

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