In November, Hugo Nijkamp of Sea Alarm attended a meeting at the brand new European Commission’s Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) in Brussels.
The meeting aimed to inform the European marine pollution community about the European Union’s new Civil Protection Mechanism, including related opportunities for European co-funding of projects and activities.
Hugo and Vanessa Ryan of WWF Finland were invited by the organisers to present their intention to propose the development of a European oiled wildlife response module as part of the upcoming call for proposals under the new mechanism. Modules (“experts and their equipment”) are highly specialised and self-supporting emergency response units developed to be mobilised by the Commission at short notice and work in an affected emergency area to provide relief to stricken communities.
As presented, the new wildlife response module would fill a current gap in Europe, providing a professional Tier-3 response service to countries that want to establish a cost-efficient and effective level of oiled wildlife response preparedness.
Via the module, responders in different European countries would be trained to a high professional level to serve on the Tier-3 team, and at the same time provide Tier-1 capacity to response systems in their home country. The concept was received well by the meeting, which was attended by lead pollution response agencies from European Member States.
From the Emergency Response Coordination Centre, the Commission (Directorate-General Humanitarian and Civil Protections, DG-ECHO) coordinates all the international requests for, and Community response to, humanitarian and environmental emergencies across the globe.