The first half of the year has been promising for the recognition of oiled wildlife preparedness and response as a priority in Europe. In May, Sea Alarm participated in important meetings organised by the Bonn Agreement and REMPEC where this topic was raised.
The first meeting was held by the Bonn Agreement’s Working Group on Operational, Technical and Scientific Questions Concerning Counter Pollution Activities (OTSOPA), where Sea Alarm presented in its role as EUROWA Secretariat. This provided an opportunity to promote the EU-funded EUROWA-2 project (2021-22), which includes workstreams dedicated to European authorities and their role in oiled wildlife preparedness and response at national level when setting up an emergency response system.
Sea Alarm used the occasion to introduce the delegations to the concept of integrated management, thus raising awareness of the importance of incorporating the varied elements of oiled wildlife operations under the oversight of all authorities involved in a response, including both at-sea and shoreline authorities.
As a permanent member of the Mediterranean Assistance Unit (MAU), Sea Alarm also participated in the 14th Meeting of the Focal Points of REMPEC to support the approval of the draft Mediterranean Strategy for the Prevention of, and Response to, Marine Pollution from Ships (2022-31). This Strategy was written by REMPEC in collaboration with numerous expert organisations.
Sea Alarm’s input included the capacity building training packages from EUROWA which can be made available to the Mediterranean authorities. In addition, this input included elements on integrated management, emphasising the need to also better consider oiled wildlife response in the Mediterranean. During the meeting, Sea Alarm presented the EUROWA-2 project as one of the projects which can support the implementation of the Strategy in the next 10 years.
Participants of the two meetings were also informed of two upcoming regional workshops for European authorities in the framework of EUROWA-2 project. These workshops will share educational tools for governments and explore the topic of integrated management with representatives from authorities in charge of at-sea and onshore response coming from the North Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Baltic Sea. Further details will be published at www.eurowa.eu.