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1995, Norilsk, Siberia



Ulf Bjurman (Sweden)

The Working Group on Emergency prevention, Preparedness and Response in the Arctic met on 7-11 August 1995 in Norilsk, Siberia, Russian Federation, and the invitation of the Ministry of the Russian Federation for Civil Defense, Emergencies and Elimination of Consequences of Natural Disasters – EMERCOM of Russia. As part of the meeting a tabletop exercise involving a significant oil spill from a pipeline was conducted.

Delegations from Canada, Denmark, Finland, Norway, the Russian Federation, Sweden and the United States of America participated. The Inuit Circumpolar Conference (ICC), the Association of Russian Indigenous Peoples of the North and the joint UNEPIDHA Environment Unit were present as observers at the Meeting.

A list of delegates and observers is enclosed (annex 1).

1. Opening

Mr. Serguei Khetagurov, Vice-Minister, EMERCOM of Russia, welcomed the participants. Greetings of welcome were also made by the Mayor of Norilsk and the Chief Administrator of the Timor District. The Chairman presented the co-operation within Arctic Environment Protection Strategy (AEPS). The Meeting was declared opened.

2. Adoption of Agenda

The draft agenda (annex 2) was adopted.

3. Arctic Risk Assessment

USA acting as lead country presented a draft (August 1995) Risk Analysis Report by the EPPR/AEPS Environmental Threats to the Arctic. In the discussion, there was found to be a need to supplement the document in certain respects but also to make the compiled inputs more compatible. An ad hoc group met for this purpose during the Meeting. It was decided that USA would continue the work on a bilateral basis and that refined drafting of an adjusted matrix would take place by a small open-ended drafting group consisting of, under all circumstances, the US and the Chairman, tentatively in connection with the meeting in November of AEPS/SAAO.

The Working Group considered the question of delineation of the Arctic Area for the purposes of EPPR, taking into account the different approaches adopted by AMAP and CAFF. The view of the Meeting was not to adopt either of these two. The Meeting decided that the definition, when it comes to areas south of the Arctic Circle, should be based on the risk assessment and left to the discretion of each Arctic country. Each delegation is to provide, as soon as possible, the USA delegation (fax 1 202 267 4690) a written definition and a map indicating the boundary of the Arctic that is to be used for the purposes of the risk analysis.

Russia informed that the Russian Arctic area had been defined in its legislation.

4. Arctic Accident Action Plan

Sweden presented as lead country a draft indicating the content of an Arctic Accident Action Plan. In the discussion, it wan found necessary for purposes of clarification to have a first part dealing with operational matters and a second part containing general information of value for the Arctic co-operation.

The part dealing with operational matters will contain the introduction, national contact points, communication systems, reporting systems, national organization, cooperation forms and exercise program. The general information will consist of adopted papers or documents, research and development, chairman’s’ reports and distribution lists.

It was underlined in the discussion that the Arctic Accident Action Plan did not have the same formal basis as the cooperative arrangements in existing multi- or bilateral agreements but rather supplemented these where such arrangements did not exist, having the character of an information and assistance tool and not an enforceable plan. The Action Plan will also ensure means for direct early communication of information between national contact points. The Arctic Accident Action Plan will therefore not replace existing arrangements. Further, in the Action Plan will be found the relevant information needed in order to facilitate the EPPR cooperation both in accident situations and in general. It will be supplemented as adopted.

5. Systems for Warning and Networks for Communication

Denmark presented the POLREP system which is to be used for maritime incidents in general as consistent with present arrangements between Arctic countries (Annex 3). It was noted that the POLREP system is being reviewed. In the discussion it was found necessary to supplement the POLREP with a telephone call if there was no reply received.

Sweden presented the UN ECE Accident Notification System which has been elaborated within the framework of the Convention on Trans-boundary Effects of Industrial Accidents (Annex 4). The ECE system consists of an early warning report, an information report, a mutual assistance report and an accident evaluation form developed by the Bureau for Risk and Industrial Pollution Analysis (BARPI). The Signatories of the Convention have recommended the use of the UN ECE Accident Notification System for future accidents and also recommended the use of the Accident Evaluation Form on a voluntary basis for past industrial accidents.

Taking into account that these systems would be used within the framework of existing arrangements, unless the parties concerned decide otherwise, the meeting recommended these systems for general use in the Arctic area in particular in the information exchange between the points of contact. This could also cover the needs identified by the RADEX 94 exercise for notification of nuclear emergencies and receipt of follow-up information, as countries should not, due the length of time required, exclusively rely on the International Atomic Energy Agency OAEA) for notification and information.

The meeting recommends that in cases when significant accidents occur which cause, or threaten to cause, serious environmental effects anywhere in the Arctic area, directly or indirectly, other Arctic countries shall through their National Contact Points be notified promptly and shall receive further information, as appropriate, using the POLREP and the UN ECE Accident Notification Systems. When needed, these systems can also be used for requests for and rendering of assistance. These systems are not intended to replace any officially established government to government reporting systems or the requirements to use such systems.

In the discussion there was found to be a need for EPPR to do an analysis of what reporting systems that are already in place and where gaps exist in reporting for the different types of Arctic emergencies that require notification. Any gaps identified would be subject to further consideration by the appropriate authorities.

Taking into account the experience from the Komi incident of the valuable assistance rendered by the joint UNEP/DHA Environment Unit, the Meeting also recommends that when an Arctic country finds it more convenient in a particular case to use the Joint UNEP/DHA Environment Unit for providing early warning and necessary information to other Arctic countries as well as for mutual assistance purposes the enclosed Interface Procedures (Annex 5) are to be applied.

6. Oil Spill Incidents

Extensive information on and experience from the Komi incident was presented by Russia, the Joint UNEPIDHA Environment Unit and the operations manager William Stillings of AES/HARTECH Limited, one of the contractors working in the on-going clean up operations of the Komi spill.

In the discussions the need for pre spill logistical and communication network planning was emphasized. This is an even more critical matter in the extreme conditions of remote Arctic areas. The need to establish a plan for information to and communication with the public in order to inform local and indigenous peoples of incidents and actions taken throughout a response was also recognized.

7. Oil and Gas Exploration and Development in the Arctic

Canada informed that a considerable number of oil and gas exploratory wells have been drilled in the Mackenzie Delta – Beaufort Sea region and the Arctic Islands area. In the eastern Canadian Arctic only two exploratory wells have been drilled. Even if significant oil and gas discoveries have been made, the production is relatively limited and is expected to remain so for the foreseeable future. This also applies to exploratory drilling.

Denmark informed about exploration drilling for oil at Nuussuaq (70 degrees N) in western Greenland where three wells were drilled this summer with a modified slim hole coring rig. Offshore west of Greenland seismic programs have identified a possible gas field at Fyla (64 degrees N). This area is open for leasing now and exploratory drilling is expected in the future.

Norway requires, prior to the opening of new areas, an evaluation of various interests involved in the relevant area, including an environment impact assessment and assessments of possible risks of pollution as well as economic and social effects. Safety requirements are specified in the concession and the activities are subject to internal safety control procedures. Emergency preparedness relating to acute pollution shall be established and ensure that any acute oil pollution is effectively collected as quickly as possible near the source of discharge or limited when threatening the coastline. The emergency preparedness relating to acute oil pollution shall be integrated into the overall emergency preparedness of the activity and consist of qualified personnel and relevant equipment. The operator’s preparedness shall be incorporated in the organization established by the Norwegian Government and the municipalities to manage the removal of acute oil pollution if it threatens the coastline or reaches the shore.

Norway informed about present and planned oil and gas production north of the 62th parallel at the Draugen, Heidrun; Njord and Smorbukk fields on Haltenbanken and the Norne field on Trenabanken. Exploration drillings will take place on the Haltenbanken and further north in the Norwegian Sea, off the coast of Nord-Trondelag and Nordland. In the Barents Sea there are no activities at present but several exploration drillings are planned for 1996 south of Bear Island.

Russia informed that off-shore activities are planned to be introduced north of Siberia. Experience on what safety management procedures that are required in this area and for the conditions there to ensure prevention of accidents is limited. There is a lack of experience on means for ice resistance in the Arctic Sea. The intention is to have, besides requirements for environment impact assessment and the use of less toxic substances and recycling processes, more stringent safety measures and principles for activities in the Arctic and for closing down. Production in this area of the Arctic Sea will involve a substantial increase of maritime transport of oil under severe conditions. The present transports in the Arctic have not in the view of Russia caused problems and no significant oil spills have occurred.

USA has no drilling in the sea, and oil is only transported through the Alaska pipeline to Valdez, not by ship from the North Slope. The Arctic production is presently averaging 1.6 million barrels per day. The State of Alaska forecasts that it will continue at about this level for the next five years. Even if there are no active drill-ships or platforms operating offshore at present, but this could change at any time since there are active leases. Production and exploration drilling is active in coastal areas and from artificial islands in tidelands between Colville and the Canning Rivers, about 200 kilometers.

USA Federal government leasing is planned in offshore areas in the next five years and there is an intensive State leasing program in the coastal plain and the foothills of the Brooks Range. At present, National bills are before the Congress to open Arctic Wildlife Refuge to leasing and exploratory drilling. If such a decision is taken, this exploration program would be similar to that presently underway in the areas east of Prudhoe Bay.

Information was presented on a joint Russian and USA workshop in June 1995 concerning drilling in the Arctic area.

8. Evaluation and Future Action Related to Oil Spills

Norway reported that the stockpiles of oil combating equipment on the Norwegian mainland will shortly be supplemented by an equipment stockpile at Svalbard. There is an increasing shipping activity in this area, which can be a threat to the fragile environment, such as cruise ships, product carriers and fishing vessels, some containing a substantial quantify of bunker oil.

Russia presented its considerations of possible means for protecting the Arctic environment in relation to oil spills. Risk assessments should always be undertaken, and at present there is a need to develop principles for consequence analysis, which are lacking. These analyses of consequences must in future to a greater extent take into account the ecological consequences. The particular conditions in the Arctic, such as seismic zones and thermafrost, are also important elements in such analyses. The possibilities for restoration measures and re-cultivation as well as levels of pollution over which damage to the environment is irreversible need to be agreed on. In the Russian view, many pipelines need to be renewed and these should be subject to efficient control systems and have automatic blocking mechanisms. There in also a need to consider questions of compensation for costs and damage as well as ecological insurance for the oil industry. Regional norms and standards for protection of the Arctic from accidental pollution could be developed.

There are two contingency plans which cover all the Russian Arctic area, i.e. the Murmansk and the Far Fart contingency plans. In the near future Russia will elaborate a special Northern Sea Route contingency plan.

Russia presented the International Northern Sea Route Program – INSROP – which is a research program designed to fill in the large knowledge gaps about the Northern Sea Route (NSR). It consists of four sub-program, namely (I) Natural Conditions and Ice Navigation, (II) Environmental Factors, (III) Trade and Commercial Shipping Aspects and (IV) Political, Legal and Strategic Factors. The first phase will be completed in 1996 and will be followed by an evaluation period before the following phases are commenced. A presentation of INSROP can be found at Annex 6.

In the discussion, the issues concerning needs for protective measures were considered. The present compensation schemes were noted. The funding systems existing in some countries, for instance Finland and USA, were presented. It was found that there, issues were primarily dealt with most appropriately by each country.

AES/HARTECH Limited mentioned that under the response agreement between the Russian Federation and the clean-up contractors, all the response equipment which has been purchased for the Komi spill will be turned over to the Russian Federation.

The Meeting recommends that environment impact assessments and risk assessments as well as safety management procedures are required generally for activities related to oil spills in the Arctic area. The Meeting also recommends that countries are required to report and inform other Arctic countries about all significant oil spills in the Arctic area. A need was found for development of the risk assessments in respect to the analysis of ecological consequences. The Chairman informed that this need had also been identified at the OECD July 1995 Workshop on Risk Assessment and Risk Communications in the Context of Accident Prevention, Preparedness and Response. Further work was also needed in the development of mutual principles and requirements for preventive and mitigating measures, in particular for oil and gas exploration and production and transport in Arctic sea areas, which are periodically ice-covered. The Meeting welcomed INSROP and looked forward to further information on results of the program.

9. Involvement of Indigenous Peoples

ICC reported on the results of the AEPS Seminar on the Integration of Indigenous Peoples Knowledge and the recommendations of relevance to the EPPR work. Thus, indigenous peoples should be involved in monitoring and responding to emergencies. Training should be available to allow them to be prepared to respond quickly and, if necessary, to evacuate efficiently. Since indigenous peoples are likely to be closest to the site of an emergency in the Arctic, this will also provide a more efficient primary response in many situations. Indigenous peoples must receive information about emergencies in terms and language understandable to them. Emergencies create fear throughout the region, and good information about the emergencies can help replace fear with constructive response and prevention in the future. Cross-cultural perceptions of risk must be examined, as well as cross-cultural perceptions of importance and priority. In emergency situations, different cultural values may place different priorities on response areas and strategies. In case of emergencies in the Arctic, damage should be prevented according to local priorities. This means understanding those priorities in advance. For example, one bay may be especially beautiful, but may not be as important to local residents or another bay that has more fish, birds and animals. In an oil spill, priority should be given to the second bay lather than the first. A study of the effects of Chernobyl on the Saami region would contribute a great deal of understanding to several of the points mentioned. A recommendation concerning the use of Environment Impact Assessment is relevant to EPPR since such assessments address potential emergencies. The recommendations can be summarized under the headings communication, learning from the past and involving indigenous communities.

The Association of Russian Indigenous Peoples of the North supplemented the presentation by ICC with their views and practical experience of problems in accident situations.

Russia (Ministry of Nations of Russia) presented existing legislation and ongoing legislative activities aiming at protecting interests of indigenous Russian peoples, inter alia [???] in the field of terrestrial rights and land use.

The meeting recommends that for communication purposes the provisions in the ON/ECE Conventions on Environmental Impact Assessment and Trans-boundary Effects of Industrial Accidents are applied in the Arctic area for the relation between authorities and indigenous peoples in matters concerning prevention, preparedness and response to different types of industrial accidents. The Meeting also recommends that the instruments of the UNEP APELL Program, i.e. the APELL handbook, the Hazard Identification and Evaluation in a Local Community handbook, as well as the APELL handbooks on Transport Accidents and for Port Areas, which will soon be published, as the Guiding principles for Chemical Accident Prevention, Preparedness and Response (guidance for public authorities, industry, labor and others) are utilized for creating awareness on the local level and a dialog between the parties concerned, namely authorities, industry and the public, not in the least the indigenous peoples. UNEP undertook to provide the representatives of the indigenous groups with the APELL material.

In the course of the discussion it was suggested that care studies on the effects on indigenous peoples of emergencies be carried out not only on the Chernobyl accident but also in other incidents such as Exxon Valdez, where Indian and Inuit peoples were affected, the Komi oil spill and an incident in the Timer district. The Meeting supported this and decided to ask the indigenous People’s Secretariat to consider the possibilities for initiating and conducting such case studies and report to EPPR on the results.

The involvement of indigenous communities could in the view of the Meeting be considered in the implementation of principles developed within the framework of the UNEP APELL Program. The Meeting therefore recommends that ways and means for developing further involvement by indigenous peoples into emergency prevention, preparedness and response be elaborated locally or regionally. The Meeting endorsed the further examination of the UNEP APELL instruments to see how well the UNEP APELL Program addresses the questions of involving indigenous and local communities.

10. Review of National Contact Points

The List of National Contact Points was updated (Annex 7).

11. Prevention

USA reported that the work on preventive matters was delayed due to changes in the administration of the State of Alaska and proposed that the discussion on how to deal with the preventive issues will be considered further at the next meeting.

The delineation between EPPR and PAME, as reported to the AEPS/SAAO Meeting 15 – 17 March 1995 in Iqaluit, Canada, in that PAME deals more extensively with land based sources for marine pollution. PAME is also involved with and focuses on what can be called chronic pollution of the marine environment from maritime activities as accidental pollution in the primary focus of EPPR. The task of EPPR is therefore dealing with prevention of accidental marine pollution.

The UN ECE Conventions on Environment Impact Assessment and Trans-boundary Effects of Industrial Accidents contain provisions concerning prevention of accidents and different cooperative measures have commenced within the framework of these conventions. Preventive measures for shipping are dealt with in different IMO Conventions. For nuclear safety, co-operation is established within IAEA.

In the discussion, the possibilities for preventing more far-reaching proposals, for instance in the fields of risk assessment, safety measures and monitoring or internal control program and use of best available technology, to the 1996 Ministerial Meeting concerning prevention of accidental pollution from off-shore activities and shipping were considered. It was felt that EPPR so far had not fulfilled its mandate from the Nuuk Ministerial Meeting in this respect. Norway held the view that the preventive measures dealt with in the different IMO Conventions were probably not sufficient for Arctic areas and proposed that EPPR hand over these issues to PAME, which is conducting an analysis of existing legal instruments to find gaps and based on this, recommend action to the Ministers. This analysis is expected to be completed before the SAAO Meeting in November. Canada proposed that use should be made of the work carried out by PAME and that the issues there either handed over to PAME or that they were considered by EPPR when the analysis was available. There was also the view that preventive measures had been dealt with as far as possible taking into account the available time and resources but that further proposals could be considered by EPPR, where the expertise on emergency matters was represented, using inter alia the result of the PAME analysis. The EPPR will, taking into account the result of the SAAO Meeting, have a further Meeting with limited participation to consider further proposals but also for the preparation of and allocation of tasks for the 1996 EPPR Meeting.

12. Radiological Emergencies

USA presented the final report, including recommendations, from the International Radiological Exercise RADEX 94, which was held during the previous EPPR Meeting. Russia informed about the experience from the (OPE) “POLYARNYE ZORI-95” exercise which was held in May 1995 in the Kola area.

In accordance with the recommendation from RADEX 94, the EPPR has developed a Accident Action Plan and also taken measures for notification of nuclear emergencies and receipt of follow-up information in order not exclusively to rely on EPPR is also within its risk assessment work continuing to identify potential sources in the Arctic area of releases of radioactive materials. There is an exchange of research and emergency response experience from all types of environmental accidents within EPPR. Other recommendations from RADEX 94 are to support international efforts to review and improve the level of safety and the emergency response capabilities, to adopt internationally recognized scientific guidance from organizations as ICRP and to recommend to the appropriate international organizations that greater emphasis be placed on the psychological aspects of a radiological emergency. The meeting is only forwarding these recommendations. As to the last recommendation which is to consider the development of atmospheric dispersion models which more accurately reflected the natural atmospheric processes that take place in the Arctic, the meeting recommends that this issue be considered in context.

13. Forest Fires

Canada reported that forest fires are left in some cases without response due to the circumstances, i.e. possibilities of efficient combat, values at stake and threat to population and that such fires are a natural element in the environment.

Russia made a presentation on Russian preparedness for forest fires and the co-operation Canada and USA on this subject. The meeting took note of this cooperation and expressed a desire to be kept informed about further developments.

The meeting noted that the UN ECE Accident Notification System will be used, as in accident situations.

14. Natural Disasters

Canada presented the information submitted by some of the countries. For Greenland severe storms are of importance. Norway has the same problems but in general few disasters. Sweden had provided information on floods, forest fires, severe storms particularly in winter, and landslides. For Canada earthquakes, floods, forest severe storms are of relevance.

In the discussion there wan expressed an interest in information exchange and general cooperation in this area. The UN ECE Accident Notification System will be used, as in accident situations.

15. Field Guide to Response in Arctic Waters

Canada presented a draft field guide for the Protection and Cleanup of Oiled Shorelines in Arctic Canada. The suggestion was to use this as a basis for the development of a mutual Field Guide to Response in Arctic Waters. The Meeting welcomed this offer.

In the discussion of the outline of the field guide using the table of contents, it was found necessary to supplement it with a chapter dealing with assessment and monitoring of spills. The Meeting decided to carry on work per correspondence. A draft will be sent for comments later this year. A complete draft will be presented for consideration at the next Meeting.

16. Table-Top-Exercise

Russia lead a tabletop exercise prepared by EMERCOM of Russia in which all delegates and observers participated. The scenario was the release of about 19,000 tons of oil from a pipeline on the eastern shore of the Tipunovka River in the northern pan of the Kolsky Peninsula. The oil reaches the Bering Sea and, with a maximum unfavorable forecast of possible spreading of the petroleum pollution, spreads eastward along the northern Russian coastline and up along the western coastline of Novaya Zemlya.

17. Exercise Debriefing

Many valuable inputs were made in the course of the exercise by the participants. Much appreciation was forwarded to Russia for an excellent exercise. Russia will elaborate a final report taking into account the experience gained in the course of the exercise. If was indicated that the exercise would be used domestically by Russia for creating awareness, co-operation between responsible authorities and other bodies and for consideration of preventive and preparedness measures.

18. Exercise Program

Norway reported on the exercise POLREP Arctic-95. The aim of the exercise, which was of the type called BRAVO, was to test agreed procedures and the lines of communication for responding and providing assistance. The scenario was a blowout on 26 January 1995 at the drilling platform “Exercise Driller” operating in the Barents Sea which caused an outflow of 200 cubic meters per hour of crude oil. There was a westerly wind and current leading to the arrival of the oil at Varanger in Norway and the Russian coastline in 10 days. The messages sent dealt with pollution warning, giving information, request and offers of assistance and closure of the exercise.

In the report Norway held the view that exercises of this type should be repeated and conducted once a year. ALPHA (paper or tabletop exercises) are already being used during EPPR Meetings. Other types of exercises (CHARLIE and DELTA) should not be carried out as such exercises would be extremely expensive from cost benefit point of view.

The meeting shared the Norwegian position. Another BRAVO exercise shall be held the Lead Country being designated at a later stage. The Meeting expressed its gratitude to Norway for conducting this valuable exercise in an excellent way.

19. Sensitivity Mapping

Canada informed that Denmark had provided summaries of biological data in relation to sensitivity mapping and identification of data gaps for the eastern Baffin, for the Davis Strait, and West Greenland. Canada provided information concerning three atlases, namely Beaufort Sea, Lancaster Sound and Coronation

Russia informed that ecological maps of the Arctic Seas north of Russia are being prepared. These do for the time being not include the shorelines. USA informed that the Alaskan maps provide possibilities for making priorities with regard both to preparedness and to response actions.

The meeting took note of the information and found that it would be valuable with information exchange on this subject.

20. Research and Development

Canada provided information on the Arctic Marine Oil Spill and Technical Response Program (AMOP) 18th Seminar held in June 1995 and on Oil Spill Remote Sensing.

USA informed and provided a list of about 15 research and development documents and contracts for ordering documents of interest (Annex 8).

Russia informed about development of a system for ecological monitoring using space technologies for provision of and interpretation of data.

Norway informed about the yearly testing with oil on water, the next test being in the coming week when the release of oil will be below water level. Information on of the Tromso station for receiving data from present and two new satellites as the greater efficiency obtained in using satellites was also presented by Norway.

21. Information Exchange

No particular information was given on changes of organization and legislation or policy or other matters of general interest.

22. Agenda 21

Canada reported on the work in the Task Force on Sustainable Development. The Meeting felt it premature to consider these matters before the final report of the Task Force was available.

23. Work Plan for the Working Group

USA expressed concern that EPPR seemed to have become more than advisory body an example being the Arctic Action Plan with the POLREP system. There was also in the view of USA a need for more formalized procedures for the work of EPPR and consideration of resources for the execution of secretariat duties and forms for how consultation with other working groups was to be exercised.

In the discussion it was further found necessary to review existing international agreements and arrangements and in accordance with the mandate from Nuuk recommend systems for cooperation. It was mentioned that the organizational matters were very much under consideration on the SAAO level, taking into account the proposal to create an Arctic Council.

The Chairman undertook to, in co-operation with USA, to elaborate a draft for consideration a draft procedure for work in accordance with the terms of reference for EPPR as well as a review of existing for EPPR relevant international agreements.

24. Any Other Business

The Meeting was provided with the opportunity of studying properly the industrial activities in the Norilsk area and the problems connected with there both from environmental and economical transition point of view. The very attractive Arctic environment around Lake Luma was also visited by the Meeting.

Russia handed over to the other delegations for consideration a draft agreement on cooperation in the field of mutual assistance in the risk assessment and taking over measures of response within the Arctic region. The Meeting took note of the draft (Annex 9).

The Meeting postponed decision on time and venue for the 1996 EPPR Meeting.

A list of documents is to be found in Annex 10.

25. Closure of the Meeting

The Chairman expressed the Meeting’s gratitude to EMERCOM of Russia for all assistance in the organization and hosting of the meeting. Gratitude was also given to other Russian authorities for their active participation and contributions. The Chairman thanked the City of Norilsk, the Timor District and the industrial combinate of Norilsk for all their assistance. In a speech the Chairman underlined the valuable contribution the hospitality and friendliness shown to the participants by all Russian hosts, creating the good spirit of co-operation that had prevailed during the Meeting.

The Chairman expressed appreciation for the important and valuable contributions by all participants both delegates and observers. Finally, the Chairman thanked the interpreters for the excellent interpretation which was provided in a difficult technical area and which was a necessity for the good results of the Meeting.