The Arctic is an environmentally sensitive area with an extreme climate characterized by low temperatures, winter-time darkness, snow, ice and permafrost. Harsh conditions and the sparse and limited amount of infrastructure in much of the Arctic increase risks and impacts and hinder response activities. Actions for prevention, preparedness and response must be carefully pre-planned and adapted to the conditions and remoteness of the Arctic to maximize the use of available resources. Accordingly, international co-operation in this area is of major importance.
EPPR is one of six working groups of the Arctic Council and is mandated to contribute to the prevention, preparedness and response to environmental and other emergencies, accidents, and Search and Rescue (SAR).
While not an operational response organization, EPPR conducts projects to address gaps, prepare strategies, share information, collect data, and collaborate with relevant partners on capabilities and research needs that exist in the Arctic. EPPR works with Arctic Council Working Groups and other organizations on projects and activities to:
- development of guidance and risk assessment methodologies,
- coordination of response exercises and training,
- exchange of information on best practices with regards to the prevention, preparedness and response to accidents and threats from unintentional releases of pollutants and radionuclides, and to consequences of natural disasters.
EPPR 2017-2019 Work Plan Snapshot
Building upon the success of the second functional exercise of the Agreement on Cooperation on Marine Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response in the Arctic (MOSPA), a third international exercise will be conducted in 2018 in the Finland. Linked to work on oil spill response, follow up to the Circumpolar Oil Spill Response Viability Analysis will include a workshop on risk analysis. Work will continue under the Development of Safety Systems in the Implementation of Economic and Infrastructural Projects which seeks to improve industrial and environmental safety and the Arctic Rescue Project which works to share information from national experiences to improve emergency preparedness. The second phase of the Prevention, Preparedness and Response for Small Communities project will focus on distributing information from phase one, raising awareness within communities to encourage improved planning and readiness should an oil spill incident take place. A series of short videos is under production and will be include information from the Field Guide for Oil Spill Response in Arctic Waters.
Two new Expert Groups – on Marine Environmental Response and Search and Rescue – will follow work linked to the MOSPA Agreement and the SAR Agreement.
EPPR, in cooperation with PAME, will continue to report on follow-up actitives repsonsive to the objectives outlined in the Framework Plan for Cooperation on Prevention of Oil Pollution from Petroleum and Maritime Activities in the Marine areas of the Arctic.
How we work
EPPR meets twice a year to discuss priorities and project identified in the work plan, including new projects that fit within the mandate. EPPR contributes to cross-cutting Arctic Council initiatives and organizes workshops and exerices as approved in the work plan. The EPPR Secretariat is located in Tromsø, Norway. Jens Peter Holst-Andersen (Kingdom of Denmark) is the current Chair of EPPR, and is supported by two Vice-Chairs from Norway and Canada.
Follow EPPR on Twitter @EPPR-Arctic and Instagram at eppr_working_group