The 2019 Expert Meeting of the Northwest Pacific Action Plan’s the Marine Environmental Emergency Preparedness and Response Regional Activity Centre took place in December 2019, in Tokyo, Japan. The Japan Coast Guard hosted the meeting.
The meeting provided an effective platform for discussions on strengthening the engagement of the private sector in combatting spills of oil, oil products and hazardous noxious substances. Experts from the four Northwest Pacific Action Plan Member States (China, Japan, The Republic of Korea and the Russian Federation) and representatives of a number of private sector stakeholders shared information about current practices and technologies used for identification and joint actions for prevention and recovery operations during accidents. They also highlighted possible entry points for future engagement at the bilateral and regional levels, involving all Northwest Pacific Action Plan Member States.
Proceedings of the meeting are of the vital importance for the Northwest Pacific region, one of the heaviest vessel traffic regions of the world. The Northwest Pacific Action Plan Member States must form a practical intergovernmental cooperative framework by exchanging information and experiences on oil spill response, including the use of state-of-the-art technologies and systems. With this in mind, this meeting was a significant milestone in moving the agenda of engagement with the private sector forward in the Northwest Pacific region. Numerous presentations and discussions at the meeting have set a friendly and collaborative environment. Presenters updated the participants on the recent developments in each of the countries as well as in the neighboring regions.
Key recommendations from the meeting included:
- For the preparation of possible oil spill accidents in future, it is beneficial to develop close links between public and private sector stakeholders further and to establish required platforms, such as joint groups for public and private sector players. These platforms need to be designed to enable individual stakeholders to exchange information on oil spill accidents effectively, to conduct joint oil spill response exercises, and hold regular meetings and workshops for exchange of knowledge and experience.
- Successful experience from the Northwest Pacific region on response to oil spills, for instance, actions following the Sanchi accident in 2018, is worth showcasing internationally. To do so, further strengthening of the cooperation with the International Maritime Organization is critical, as well as presenting such successful experience in international meetings.
- China announced that an international meeting under the framework of the "Global Initiative China” project will be held in 2022 and invited the Northwest Pacific Action Plan Member States and the Secretariat of the Marine Environmental Emergency Preparedness and Response Regional Activity Centre to the meeting to share and exchange information on oil spill accidents.
The Northwest Pacific Action Plan expert meeting also invited the Centre to consider the possibility of establishing a public-private sector platform for dealing with oil spill accidents under the Marine Environmental Emergency Preparedness and Response Regional Activity Centre framework.
Writer: Yegor Volovik
Editor: Anna Manikowska D.G.
Reviewer: Yegor Volovik