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1996, Yellowknife, Canada

YELLOWKNIFE,CANADA MEETING 12 – 16 AUGUST 1996 OF THE WORKING GROUP FOR THE EMERGENCY PREVENTION, PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE PROGRAM

CHAIRMAN’S REPORT & Record Of Decisions (Annex 8)

(Other Annexes not included)

INTRODUCTION

The Working Group for the Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response in the Arctic Program (AEPS/EPPR) met on 12 – 16 August 1996 in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada, at the invitation of Environment Canada.

Delegations from Canada, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Russian Federation, Sweden and the United States of America participated. The Inuit Circumpolar Conference (ICC) was present as Permanent Participants at the Meeting.

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

During the Meeting ad hoc groups were appointed for preparing EPPR decisions on rules of procedure, analysis of the adequacy and effectiveness of the existing international agreements and arrangements, Arctic offshore gas and oil guidelines and the Arctic Guide.

In the course of the Meeting the Working Group visited Norman Wells, Cambridge Bay and Lupin Mine where the Group studied large scale cooperative emergency response between municipality, industry represented by the Imperial Oil Production and various government agencies in the community as well as experience of a serious forest fire in June 1996 which made it necessary to conduct large scale evacuation. In Cambridge Bay the Group was informed of the role of indigenous people in emergency prevention and preparedness and took part in a Canadian Coast Guard demonstration of oil spill recovery. In Lupin Mine the Group was informed about environmental emergency planning and environment protection measures. In Norman Wells and Cambridge Bay special meetings were held with representatives of local authorities, indigenous peoples, industry and emergency services.

A list of documents can be found at annex 2.

1. Formal Meeting Opening

    Opening remarks and greetings of welcome to Canada and Yellowknife to the delegates and participants were made by Bill Howard, Environment Canada, Mayor David Lovell, City of Yellowknife, and the Canadian Arctic Ambassador Mary Simon, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

2. Adoption of Age

    EPPR adopted the draft agenda (annex 3).

3. Review of Ministerial Conference

    The Inuvik Declaration and the Report of the Third Ministerial Conference were presented. EPPR took note of the Inuvik Declaration.

4. Review of EPPR Work

    A draft work plan which had been elaborated at the Open-Ended Meeting in Toronto was considered and reviewed.

    EPPR adopted its work plan for 1996 – 1998 (annex 4).

5. Meeting Procedures

    Draft rules of procedure for EPPR which had been elaborated at the Open-Ended Meeting in Toronto were considered and reviewed.

    EPPR adopted rules of procedure for EPPR (annex 5).

6. Arctic Risk Assessment

    The United States presented a proposal for procedure for refining the Risk Analysis on Environmental Threats to the Arctic.

    After discussion EPPR decided to consider at the next EPPR Meeting a report presented by the United States on comments received on the Environmental Risk Analysis of Arctic Activities and review of findings of other AEPS programs in relation to the risk analysis, a draft report being circulated before 1 January 1997 to National Representatives for comments before 1 February 1997; and submit to the 1997 Ministerial Conference a status report on this issue, taking into account that a refined new edition of the Risk Analysis could be completed at the earliest for the following Ministerial Conference.

7. Analysis of the Adequacy and Effectiveness of Existing International Agreements and Arrangements

    Canada presented a first draft prepared by Advisory Committee on Protection of the Sea (ACOPS) of a review of legal agreements and arrangements and draft criteria for a review of the operational agreements and arrangements.

    After discussion EPPR decided to produce with Canada as lead country per correspondence for approval at the next EPPR Meeting criteria for the operational analyses of the adequacy and effectiveness of the existing international agreements and other arrangements in the Arctic, legal and operational analyses being reviewed following the EPPR approval of the criteria.

8. Arctic Guide for EPPR

    Sweden presented a first draft of the Arctic Guide to Emergency, Prevention, Preparedness and Response in the Arctic. After discussion, draft outlines of the Guide were established (annex 6).

    EPPR, considering that EPPR is a network for information on Arctic accidents and for facilitating the cooperation among the Arctic States in the area of emergency prevention, preparedness and response, decided to continue with Sweden as lead country in a correspondence group the elaboration of the draft Arctic Guide for Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response for consideration at the next EPPR Meeting a final draft being submitted to the 1997 Ministerial Conference.

9. Early Notification Networks for Communications

    EXERCISES

    Sweden presented a report from a communication exercise conducted on 14 June 1996.

    The list of contact points was up-dated (annex 7).

    Denmark informed about the lessons learnt from the communication exercise carried out in November 1995 within the CANDEN joint contingency plan which was agreed upon at the Norilsk meeting. The also agreed table top exercise had not been carried out due to a change in the Danish contingency organization according to which the operational responsibility to initiate contingency measures on the sea is being transferred from the Danish EPA to the Ministry of Defense represented by MRCC in Arhus. The Ministry of Environment and Energy will still be responsible for setting the aim and the overall strategy and finance of the Danish contingency arrangements.

    EPPR decided to conduct two exercises before the next EPPR Meeting, one before the end of 1996 being led by Finland and the other in 1997 being led by Sweden; ask the lead country Sweden to up-date regularly the list of contact points using a table for the information.

    Analysis of the effectiveness of existing emergency notification systems

    Sweden presented an analysis of existing notification systems.

    EPPR decided to prepare in accordance with the Inuvik Declaration the analysis of the effectiveness of existing accident reporting systems with the United States as lead country.

10. Prevention

    SHIPPING

    Canada presented the work on harmonization of polar shipping rules being undertaken within the Circumpolar Advisory Group on Ice Operations (CAGIO), in particular the development of a proposal for an IMO Code of Polar Navigation, environmental sensitivity mapping in Canadian waters and the Canadian Arctic Pilot, developed specifically to assist ships transiting the Northwest passage. Russia informed about the Russian sea fleet activities in the Northern Sea Route.

    EPPR welcomed the continuation of the development of a code of polar navigation under the auspices of IMO, recognizing the necessity to consider further matters concerning navigation, notification and involvement of indigenous peoples in relation to shipping in Arctic waters.

    OFFSHORE

    The US has been asked by PAME to develop a first draft of Arctic Offshore Oil and Gas Guidelines. This draft was then to be reviewed by the appropriate AEPS working groups to meet their mandates from the Inuvik Ministerial Conference which asked PAME to take the lead in developing the guidelines and also asked the EPPR Working Group to contribute to the guideline in the area of prevention, preparedness and response.

    The United States presented a proposed input from EPPR to PAME on preparedness and response in the development of Guidelines (chapters 6 and 9 of the Guidelines).

    The initial review of the draft Guidelines resulted in the following observations from the Working Group:

  • the document contained too much information that was felt to be inherently known by the users and thus made the document less useful;
  • there was too much general discussion and not enough substantive information; and
  • the format should be changed to emphasize the importance of the issues contained in the annexes. Particularly, annex A on SEMP, and annex C on Preparedness and Response. It was felt that the information on these topics should be expanded and that the substantive issues under these topics should be discussed in the appropriate chapters with the annexes providing further detail.
  • it was also felt that the issue of Prevention is covered under SEMP. In the light of this, Chapter 6 dealing with “Operations Procedures” was not appropriate for the EPPR Working Group.

After discussion EPPR decided to establish, for the purpose of contributing to the development of preventive, mitigating and response measures for oil and gas accidental releases in the Arctic, a correspondence group with the United States as lead country for matters concerning guidelines for Offshore Oil and Gas Activities with the task of presenting EPPR comments to the up-coming meeting of PAME and a proposal to the next EPPR Meeting.

11. Involvement of Indigenous Peoples

    Canada presented the UNEP APELL Program. Canada also presented training activities for marine spill response involving the local communities in the Arctic area.

    After discussion EPPR decided to explore the possibilities for conducting a workshop using the APELL Program instruments in Northwest Russia in the course of which the practical involvement of indigenous people in accident prevention and response would be investigated; welcome the information on possibilities to participate in the training of indigenous people at the Circumpolar Academy in Saint Petersburg in disaster preparedness and response, further encourage the Indigenous Peoples Secretariat to initiate evaluation of the experience of indigenous peoples from accidents that have occurred.

12. Field Guide for Response in Arctic waters

    Canada presented a report on the Field Guide for the Protection and Cleanup of Oiled Arctic Shorelines which was developed specifically for the Arctic environment.

    After discussion EPPR decided to continue with Canada as lead country, assisted by an advisory committee, work on a field guide for Arctic oil spill response using the Canadian Field Guide as a basis and supplementing it, inter alia, with information on response under winter conditions and including Arctic freshwater environments.

13. Research and Development

    Canada reported on the AMOP Conference and research activities.

14. Other Cooperative Measures

    The United States reported on its bilateral cooperation with Russia in the fields of emergency management and response. The United States will investigate the proposed Arctic Regional Information System with the possibility of presenting information at the next EPPR Meeting. Finland informed that the Finish-Russian Emergency Response Agreement has entered into force on 1 August 1996.

15. Coordination with Other Groups

    No further information was given.

16. Other Business

    EPPR decided to hold the 1997 EPPR Meeting on 2 – 9 April 1997 in Greenland, the 1998 EPPR Meeting tentatively in Finland and the 1999 Meeting in Norway.

    EPPR adopted the Record of Decisions (see Annex 8 below).

17. Closure of the Meeting

    The Chairman expressed the Meetings gratitude to Canada for all assistance in the organization and hosting of the Meeting, which had been most productive and instructive, thereby creating a good platform for the future EPPR work, as well as pleasant due to the excellent arrangements.

    The Chairman also expressed appreciation for the important and valuable contributions made by all participants, delegates, representatives of permanent participants and Canadian support personnel. Finally, the Chairman thanked the interpreters.

ANNEX 8

Record of Decisions

    EPPR decided to:
  • adopt the agenda.
  • take note of the Inuvik Declaration.
  • adopt its Work plan for 1996 – 1998.
  • adopt Rules of Procedure for EPPR.
  • consider at the next EPPR Meeting a report presented by the United States on comments received on the Environmental Risk Analysis of Arctic Activities and review of findings of other AEPS programs in relation to the risk analysis, a draft report being circulated before 1 January 1997 to National Representatives for comments before 1 February 1997; and submit to the 1997 Ministerial Conference a status report on this issue, taking into account that a refined new edition of the Risk Analysis could be completed at the earliest for the following Ministerial Conference.
  • produce with Canada as lead country per correspondence for approval at the next EPPR Meeting criteria for the operational analysis of the adequacy and effectiveness of the existing international agreements and other arrangements in the Arctic, the legal and operational analyses being reviewed following the EPPR approval of the criteria.
  • considering that EPPR is a network for information on Arctic accidents and for facilitating the cooperation among the Arctic States in the area of emergency prevention, preparedness and response, decided to continue with Sweden as lead country in a correspondence group the elaboration of the draft Arctic Guide for Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response for consideration at the next EPPR Meeting a final draft being submitted to the 1997 Ministerial Conference.
  • conduct two exercises before the next EPPR Meeting, one before the end of 1996 being led by Finland and the other in 1997 being led by Sweden; ask the lead country Sweden to up-date regularly the list of contact points using a table for the information.
  • prepare in accordance with the Inuvik Declaration the analysis of the effectiveness of existing accident reporting systems with the United States as lead country.
  • welcome the continuation of the development of a code of polar navigation under the auspices of IMO, recognizing the necessity to consider further matters concerning navigation, notification and involvement of indigenous peoples in relation to shipping in Arctic waters.
  • establish, for the purpose of contributing to the development of preventive, mitigating and response measures for oil and gas accidental releases in the Arctic, a correspondence group with the United States as lead country for matters concerning guidelines for Offshore Oil and Gas Activities with the task of presenting EPPR comments to the up-coming meeting of PAME in February 1997 and a proposal for a final submission to the next EPPR Meeting.
  • explore the possibilities for conducting a workshop using the APELL Program instruments in Northwest Russia in the course of which the practical involvement of indigenous people in accident prevention and response would be investigated; welcome the information on possibilities to participate in the training of indigenous people at the Circumpolar Academy in Saint Petersburg in disaster preparedness and response; further encourage the Indigenous Peoples Secretariat to initiate evaluation of the experience of indigenous peoples from accidents that have occurred.
  • continue with Canada as lead country, assisted by an advisory committee, work on a field guide for Arctic oil spill response using the Canadian Field Guide as a basis and supplementing it, inter alia, with information on response under winter conditions and including Arctic freshwater environments.
  • hold the 1997 EPPR Meeting on 2 – 9 April 1997 in Greenland, the 1998 EPPR Meeting tentatively in Finland and the 1999 Meeting in Norway.
  • adopt the Record of Decisions.