ROVANIEMI, FINLAND MEETING 20-23 APRIL 1998 OF THE WORKING GROUP FOR THE EMERGENCY PREVENTION, PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE PROGRAM
Chairman’s Report & Record of Decisions (Annex 6)
(Other Annexes not included)
The Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response working group held its meeting in Rovaniemi on 20-23.4.1998.
The meeting was attended by delegations from Canada, Denmark, Finland, Norway, the Russian Federation, Sweden and the US. The list of participants is attached to this report (Annex 1).
Mr. Olli Pahkala from Finland acted as Chair for the meeting and Ms.Camilla Strandberg-Panelius acted as secretary of the meeting.
The EPPR meeting was addressed by the Governor of Lapland, Ms. Hannele Pokka. She especially highlighted that Lapland has been working together with the neighboring countries on emergency questions for a long time. At the end of her speech she pointed out the importance of cooperation amongst all the Arctic countries for a safer, securer North for everyone.
Agenda Item 1 – Opening of the Meeting
The meeting was opened by the chair and he welcomed the delegates to Rovaniemi, the place where it all started in 1991 with the Rovaniemi process. He also explained the events at the SAO meeting in Ottawa where Finland was appointed temporary lead country for the working group instead of Sweden. The Swedish chair Mr. Ulf Bjurman had moved over to the European Commission where he now is working as a national adviser. The chair also stressed that the most important item on the agenda was the Strategic Plan, which the working group now, for the first time could discuss at the annual meeting. Perhaps now, all parties present could agree on an acceptable format for the plan.
Agenda Item 2 – Adoption of the Agenda
The revised draft agenda was adopted (Annex 2). A list of the documents dealt with at the meeting is attached (Annex 3).
Agenda Item 3 – Chairmanship
The meeting endorsed the decision of the SAO meeting to elect Finland as the lead country for the EPPR working group and to nominate Mr.Olli Pahkala chair until the next Ministerial meeting.
The proposal concerning the amendment of the rules of procedure submitted by Finland was considered. The EPPR working group adopted the amendments and decided to submit the new rules of procedure to the SAOs for approval. The new rules of procedure are attached (Annex 4).
Agenda Item 4 – Work of the Arctic Council
Senior Adviser Ms. Paula Kankaanpaa from the Ministry of the Environment of Finland informed the meeting about the work of the Arctic Council, about the coming SAO meeting and about the meeting on Sustainable Development in the Arctic in Whitehorse in May.
Agenda Item 5.1 Strategic Plan – General Discussion
The draft of the Strategic Plan submitted by the US dated 29 September 1997 was presented. After long and deep discussions, the working group was able to agree on the following: – EPPR is a working group dealing with environmental emergencies in the Arctic area that are a result of human activities – Pure natural disasters are not at this moment a part of the working group’s work plan – Nuclear questions are on the working group’s work plan but currently no initiative focuses on nuclear issues – Key words when dealing with environmental emergencies in the Arctic are Prevention Preparedness and Response
Instead of a mission the strategic plan should contain a mandate with certain goals and ways and means to achieve these goals.
Agenda Item 5.2 – Ongoing Activities of the EPPR Working Group
Risk analysis (US)
This item was presented by the US, who also had submitted the draft of the second report on Risk Analysis. The meeting requested the countries to provide input on the updated Risk Analysis within two weeks and also to answer the questions the US asked each country separately within the same time frame. The EPPR working group decided that the updated Risk Analysis is ready for the Ministerial meeting.
- 5.2.2 Risk/Technical Capability Assessment (US and Russia)
Russia presented a proposal for a risk/technical capability assessment of to two activities, namely, the Severonickel Processing Plant JSC and the Prirazlomnoye oil field.
It was decided after discussion to continue with the project as a follow-up to the Risk Analysis, but to wait until the next EPPR meeting for any further decisions, when more information on the framework and guidelines for the project will be available. There is no lead country for this project. Countries are encouraged to submit proposals to the EPPR working group for its consideration, in due time to adopt a plan at the next annual meeting.
5.2.3 Analysis of Agreements and Arrangements (Canada)
Canada presented this item and also stated that they had not received information and answers to all their questions. EPPR requested Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Russia to send their answers to Environment Canada before the end of May. The report will be finalized at the next EPPR meeting.
5.2.4Analysis of the effectiveness of existing accident reporting systems (US)
The present state of the analysis was presented by the US. Based on the discussions, the EPPR working group asked the US to complete the report of phase I of the analysis of the notification systems for final approval by the SAOs and the Arctic Council.
Because of the possibility of overlap, it was decided that phase II on international notification systems should wait until the report on existing agreements and arrangements is finished. EPPR 99 will decide on further actions concerning phase II.
5.2.5 Field Guide for Oil Spill Response in Arctic waters (Canada)
Canada presented the draft of the Field Guide for Oil Spills Response in Arctic Waters. Everybody expressed gratitude to Canada and the consultants for a job well done.
The EPPR working group adopted the Field Guide in principal and authorized the workshop in St. Petersburg to make the final changes so that Canada can complete the work during the summer. The meeting decided that Canada does not have to circulate the report in the working group before submitting it to the ministerial meeting.
5.2.6 Circumpolar map of natural resources at risk from oil spills (Norway)
Norway presented the proposal for a circumpolar map of natural resources at risk from oil spills. The proposal was well received by the participants (Annex 5).
The EPPR working group decided to endorse the proposal made by Norway with the suggested amendments. The budget of the project is $50 000 and it will be divided as follows: Norway 20%, Canada 16%, Denmark/Greenland 16%, Finland 16%, Sweden 16% and the US 16%. The end product of this project will be available for adoption at EPPR 2000.
5.2.7 Arctic Guide (Sweden)
Sweden presented questions concerning the Arctic Guide. The EPPR working group decided that the working group will go on updating the Guide. Each country should send its updated information on national contact points, to be included in the Arctic Guide, to Sweden before the end of May, after which Sweden will send master copies of the Arctic Guide to every country.
Agenda Item 5.3 Strategic Plan of Action for the EPPR Working Group
Although the EPPR working group agreed in principle on the contents of the Strategic Plan it could not, however, reach a final agreement on the text of some essential parts of the plan. The EPPR working group asked the chair, in consultation with Sweden and the US, to develop a 6th draft of the Strategic Plan based on the proposal and on the discussions. The draft will be circulated to all countries for further consideration. A revised draft will be presented at the SAO meeting in May as an interim paper. The Strategic Plan will be adopted by correspondence before the Ministerial meeting.
Agenda item 6 – Exercise
Sweden presented the exercise they have done during the last year. Some questions were raised on the purpose of the exercise. The EPPR working group decided to work on the list of participants in the exercise. Sweden will make a list of only national contact points and this will be sent out for the next EPPR meeting. No exercise will be conducted this coming year.
Agenda Item 7 – Information exchange
Canada informed the meeting of a project proposal they are working on. It is a proposal to conduct recovery and monitoring surveys of the 1994 Komi pipeline oil spills. The proposal was prepared by the Owens Coastal Consultants in collaboration with PRISM Environmental Corporation and Environment Canada (Emergencies Sciences Division). Canada also gave some information on the Arctic and Marine Oil Spill Program Technical Seminar on June 10-12, 1998 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Norway reported on a current research program, which is developing a mechanical device for collection of oil in ice.
Finland reported on a seminar with the topic Oil in Ice which will take place in late 1999 or early 2000. Finland also gave some information on the Program for 1998-2002 for the technology sector environmental emergency response.
Russia reported on an oil spill exercise which is scheduled for the third week of May in Sakhalin. The purpose is to practice the procedures in the Joint Response Team Agreement (1989) between Russia and the US for response to spills of oil and other hazardous materials in the water. Japan is also taking part in this exercise.
The US gave some information on current work in the Arctic region. They also submitted some written material: The Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy – Arctic Offshore Oil & Gas Guidelines, Environmental Sensitivity Index Guidelines and, from Alaska, a Shoreline Countermeasures Manual. The importance of oil in ice in Alaska was also stressed.
Agenda Item 8 – Election of Chair and Vice-chair
Following the new rules of procedure, a chair and a vice-chair are to be elected for a period of two years. EPPR decided to elect Mr. Olli Pahkala/Ministry of the Environment in Finland as chair and Mr. Joe Nazareth/Mineral Resources Administration for Greenland/Denmark as vice-chair for the coming two years, beginning at the end of the next Ministerial meeting.
Agenda Item 9 – Any other Business
The US proposed a web page for EPPR. This idea was widely welcomed. The US will
suggest a project proposal for the next EPPR meeting.
Mr. Olli Vilkamo from the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority in Finland visited the meeting and gave a lecture on cooperation on alarm and radiation measuring systems in North-West Russia. Finland and Russia have signed a bilateral agreement on early notification of a nuclear accident by the Russian Nuclear Energy Ministry. A number of joint projects have been implemented within the framework of this agreement. One is the push button alarm-sending board in the onsite offices of the Russian Nuclear Safety Inspectorate GAN in the Leningrad Region and the Kola nuclear power plants and in the harbor of the “Atomflot” in Murmansk. This project has been done in cooperation with Sweden, Norway and Germany. Another project was the automatic environmental radiation monitoring system of Finnish origin that was installed in Sosnovy Bor. This network is now being developed further as a joint Finnish-Danish support project.
Norway invited the 1999 EPPR meeting to Svalbard in the beginning of September 1999.
Agenda Item 10 Record of Decisions
EPPR adopted the Record of Decisions (Annex 6).
RECORD OF DECISION
The EPPR working group decided to:
- adopt the agenda.
- adopt the Finnish proposal for amendment of the rules of procedure as it stands and to forward it to the SAO meeting in Whitehorse for approval.
- let the chair, in consultation with Sweden and the US, develop a 6th draft of the Strategic Plan based on the proposal and on the discussion. The draft will be circulated to all countries for further consideration. A revised draft can be presented at the SAO meeting in May as an interim paper. The Strategic Plan will be adopted by all countries through correspondence before the ministerial meeting.
- have the updated Risk Analysis report ready for the ministerial meeting. The countries should send the information Ray Perry has requested asked for before 8.5.1998. The EPPR decided that necessary work to update the report should also be done in the future as appropriate.
- continue with the project Risk/Technical Capability Assessment, but to wait until the next meeting when more information on the framework and guidelines for the project are available.
- finalize the Analysis of Agreements and Arrangements by the next EPPR working group meeting and to request Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Russia to send their answers to Environment Canada before 31.5.1998.
- finalize phase I of the Analysis of the Effectiveness of Existing Accidental Reporting Systems and, for the time being postpone phase II until the results from the Analysis of Agreements and Arrangements is ready.
- adopt the Field Guide for Oil Spill Response in Arctic waters proposed by Canada conditionally and authorize the workshop in St.Petersburg to make the final changes so that Canada can finalize the report during the summer. The meeting decided that Canada does not have to circulate the report in the working group before submitting it to the ministerial meeting.
- endorse the project proposal for a Circumpolar Map of Natural Resources at risk from oil spills submitted by Norway.
- continue with an up-dating of the Arctic Guide. Every country should send their updated information for the Arctic Guide to Sweden before the end of May after which Sweden will send master copies of the Arctic Guide to every country.
- elect Olli Pahkala/Ministry of the Environment in Finland as chair for the coming two years and Joe Nazareth/Mineral Resources Administration for Greenland/Denmark as vice-chair for the same period.