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Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Conference on European Strategy for the Marine Environment attended by INTERTANKO

INTERTANKO MD Peter Swift and Laila Lafitte-Kjeldsen from ADS Insight attended this conference in Copenhagen, 4-6 December, which was organised by the Danish Presidency of the EU and the European Commission (DG ENV).

The aim was to involve interested stakeholders in the establishment of objectives and strategies to protect and conserve the marine environment. Other attendees included representatives from the EU member states and the candidate countries (mainly from the respective Environment Ministries) and NGOs from most of the principal environmental interest organisations and industry associations.

The events surrounding the recent Prestige accident inevitably brought maritime transport, oil pollution (operational and accidental) and related issues to the top of this agenda, although concerns over other hazardous substances, biodiversity decline, eutrophication, and climate change also featured highly.

The European Commission is presently developing “aspirational objectives” with respect to the protection of the marine environment, but would like to back each of these with appropriate strategies and specific action plans. They would hope that these would be supported by all the member states and in many cases also by the adjacent states. These would also provide the basic framework and guiding principles for all Community programmes both internally within the EU and in external programmes, e.g. at IMO and other international conventions, in regional Clean Seas programmes, with OSPAR, etc. This approach will inevitably require extensive co-ordination and a large degree of coherence, which based on experience to date many delegates considered to be a major challenge. It is also difficult to reconcile this aproach with the ongoing regional and international programmes in which many EU member states already participate. In addition there is the problem of developing a suitable “process” which will enable and/or commit all member states to adhering to these overarching objectives in their individual activities and programmes.

Throughout the discussion, INTERTANKO highlighted the need to implement and enforce existing legislation and regulations on environmental matters and the importance to the international shipping industry of establishing any new regulations on a global basis, such as through the IMO.

A more comprehensive report on the workshop will be available next week.

Contact: Peter Swift