Skip to main content

1996, Inuvik, Canada

REPORT OF THE THIRD MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE ON THE PROTECTION OF THE ARCTIC ENVIRONMENT

MARCH 20-21, 1996

INUVIK DECLARATION ON ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN THE ARCTIC

INUVIK, CANADA

(Selections taken from this report.)

2.0 Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy Program Reports

2.4 Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response (EPPR)

In the Rovaniemi Declaration, the eight Arctic countries agreed “to provide a framework for future cooperation in responding to the threat of environmental emergencies “. The EPPR Working Group was established as an experts’ forum to evaluate the adequacy of existing arrangements and to recommend the necessary system of cooperation. At the Second Ministerial Conference, the Ministers underlined “the necessity of a notification system and improved cooperation for mutual aid in case of accidents in the Arctic area.” The Working Group, which is led by Sweden, has met twice.

The Ministers considered the Status Report from the EPPR Working Group and welcomed the progress made by EPPR following the Nuuk Ministerial Conference in establishing and enhancing cooperation between the eight Arctic countries and the indigenous peoples on emergency prevention, preparedness and response.

The Ministers considered the following aspects of the EPPR Program:

    2.4.1 Inventory and Qualitative Risk Assessment

    The Ministers noted EPPR’s progress on an inventory and qualitative risk assessment for facilities or activities that may pose a significant threat of accidental pollution. They welcomed the completion of the “Risk Assessment Matrix” portion of the “Risk Analysis on Environmental Threats to the Arctic”, led by the United States. They acknowledged the dynamic and continuing nature of the Risk Analysis due to the considerable variation of circumstances and changing conditions to be dealt with in the Arctic countries. The Ministers requested EPPR to refine the Risk Analysis, and based on its results, to assess the need for future action.

    The Ministers acknowledged the EPPR conclusion that environmental impact assessments and risk assessments as well as safety management procedures are necessary for activities which could cause significant spills of oil and hazardous substances in the Arctic area. The Ministers asked EPPR to promote the application of risk assessment methodologies to the threats listed in the Risk Analysis, in particular with respect to ecological consequences and effects to human health.

    2.4.2 Arrangements for Prevention, Preparedness and Response

    The Ministers acknowledged the importance of an analysis of the adequacy and effectiveness of existing bilateral and multilateral arrangements for the Arctic and requested EPPR to complete this analysis.

    The Ministers noted EPPR’s continuing efforts to develop an Arctic Guide for Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response”. The guide will contain information on national contact points, communication systems, reporting systems, national organizations, cooperation forms and exercise programs and other general information of value for Arctic cooperation in this area.

    The Ministers noted with satisfaction EPPR’s efforts to create an awareness at the local level and developing principles for preventative and mitigating measures applicable to various types of industrial. The UNEP Awareness and Preparedness for Emergencies at Local Levels (APELL) Program and its aim to open a dialogue between public authorities, industry, labor and local communities will be examined further as an instrument for involvement of indigenous groups.

    2.4.3 Research and Development

    The Ministers acknowledged the valuable exchange of information among Arctic countries on research and development related to emergency prevention, preparedness and response in cold-climate conditions. They encouraged further activities in this field.

    2.4.4 Promotion of Mutual Aid Mechanisms

    The Ministers noted favorably EPPR’s recommendation that in cases where significant accidents occur which cause, or threaten to cause, serious environmental or health effects in the Arctic, directly or indirectly, all Arctic countries shall through their National Contact Points be notified promptly and shall receive further information, as appropriate.

    The Ministers noted the progress made on warning-systems and communication networks. They encouraged the EPPR initiative to introduce and conduct exercises to test the agreed procedures and the lines of communication for reporting and providing assistance, and to continue to review the efficiency and effectiveness of existing notification and information systems in the Arctic.

    The Ministers noted the information provided by EPPR on present and planned oil and gas exploration and development in the Arctic, as well as experience from the Komi spill of 1994 and from a table-top exercise held in Norilsk Russian Federation, in 1995 simulating a significant release of oil from a pipeline, affecting the northern part of the Kola Peninsula and reaching the Barents Sea.

    At the 1994 EPPR Meeting in Anchorage, Alaska, a tabletop exercise (the International Radiological Exercise – RADEX 94) involving a radiological release and a maritime incident was conducted. The Ministers acknowledged EPPR’s conclusion that there is a need for improved preventative, preparedness and response measures in these respects. The Ministers further asked EPPR to coordinate with PAME and the SDU on preventative, mitigating and response measures on the transport of oil and gas in the Arctic region.

    2.4.5 Future Work

    Following consideration of the work completed by EPPR, the Ministers agreed that their priority was to complete the “Arctic Guide for Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response” and an in-depth analysis of the adequacy and effectiveness of existing agreements or arrangements in the Arctic. The Ministers requested EPPR to make every effort to complete the Guide for consideration at the next Ministerial Conference.

    The Ministers requested EPPR to continue their work on contributing to the development of preventative, mitigating and response measures for oil and gas accidental releases in the Arctic.

    Noting EPPR’s work to create awareness at the local level, the Ministers requested EPPR to continue to involve indigenous peoples in accident prevention, preparedness and response.

    The Ministers also requested EPPR to refine the “Risk Analysis on Environmental Threats to the Arctic” and determine whether there is a need for future action.

6.1 Further Cooperation

    6.1.5 Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response

    The Ministers agreed to promote the ratification by all Arctic states of the UN ECE Convention on the Trans-boundary Effects of Industrial Accidents (1992) and the International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Cooperation 1990 (OPRC), as well as the IAEA Conventions on Early Notification and Assistance in the case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency.

(Taken from the INUVIK DECLARATION)

For EPPR, the priorities are completing the Arctic Guide for Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response; contributing to the development of preventative, mitigating and response measures for oil and gas accidental releases in the Arctic; continuing to involve indigenous peoples in accident prevention and response; preparing an analysis of the effectiveness of existing accident reporting systems; refining the Risk Analysis on Environmental Threats to the Arctic, including an assessment of the need for future action; and analyzing the adequacy and effectiveness of the existing international agreements and other arrangements in the Arctic within EPPR’s area of expertise.

12 [ the Ministers] endorse the EPPR recommendation that where significant accidents occur which directly or indirectly cause, or threaten to cause, environmental or health effects in the Arctic Countries shall, through their National Contact Points, be notified promptly and receive further information as appropriate.