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Oil spill preparedness and response in the Mediterranean

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IPIECA attended the Workshop on regional response capacity and co-ordination for major oil spill in the Mediterranean Sea (MEDEXPOL) 2013 in Athens, Greece, organized by the Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Response Centre for the Mediterranean Sea (REMPEC) and the Mediterranean Oil Industry Group (MOIG), from 9-13 December 2013.

The event provided feedback on the assessment and analysis of existing measures in place in the Mediterranean with regard to offshore activities, as well as recommendations for consideration when drafting the Action Plan called for by decision IG.20/12 of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Mediterranean Action Plan. The decision calls for implementation of the Protocol of the Barcelona Convention concerning the protection of the Mediterranean Sea against pollution resulting from exploration and exploitation of the continental shelf and the seabed and its subsoil.

The workshop also reviewed regional arrangements and policies related to response and cooperation to major oil spill incidents in the Mediterranean Region and international best practices and regulations relevant to the implementation of the Offshore Protocol.

In attendance were Mediterranean Action Plan Focal Points, UN specialised agencies, governmental and non-governmental organizations, relevant professional organizations and associations as well as representatives of the oil industry.

Offshore activities, practices and regulations were presented, and there was a focus on thematic issues such as the authorization process, control of operations, operational discharges, and contingency planning.

At this first stage in the development of the action plan, IPIECA attended the event to discuss and assist in determining the best strategy to adopt in the Mediterranean region according to existing activities taking place in the region. The next step is for Mediterranean coastal States to prioritize a series of recommendations set out by REMPEC; the results will be discussed at a meeting in April 2014.