Northeast Atlantic



OSPAR Convention + OSPAR Commission
Convention The 1992Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of North-East Atlantic — OSPAR Convention — replaced the 1972 Oslo Convention (pollution by dumping) and the 1974 Paris Convention (pollution from land-based sources). The OSPAR Convention requires that Contracting Parties 'shall take all possible steps to prevent and eliminate pollution and shall take the necessary measures to protect the maritime area against the adverse effects of human activities so as to safeguard human health and to conserve marine ecosystems and, when practicable, restore marine areas which have been adversely affected.' The detailed provisions for controlling pollution from different sources and protecting ecosystems and biodiversity are set out in the five annexes to the Convention. OSPAR Annex III - on the prevention and elimination of pollution from offshore sources. OSPAR's Offshore Oil and Gas Industry Strategy.

The OSPAR Quality Status Report - OSPAR QSR - published in 2000 is the assessment by the OSPAR Commission of the environmental quality of the North-East Atlantic. The QSR 2000 is based on five reports (regional QSRs) prepared for the Arctic Waters, the Greater North Sea, the Celtic Seas, the Bay of Biscay and Iberian Coast, and the Wider Atlantic.

Commission The OSPAR Commission is the Executive body of the Convention. At the 1998 Ministerial Meeting of the OSPAR Commission, the Ministers adopted the Sintra Statement setting out the political impetus for future action by the Commission. It includes a section related to the environmental impacts of shipping stating, inter alia, that the OSPAR countries will co-operate especially in the work of the International Maritime Organization, to tackle threats to the marine environment from shipping through promoting better waste reception facilities and their more effective use including harmonised arrangements to remove economic, administrative or organisational incentives for ships not to use port waste reception facilities.

Bonn Agreement
The Bonn Agreement is an international agreement by North Sea coastal states, with the EU, to:
  • offer mutual assistance and co-operation in combating pollution;
  • execute surveillance as an aid to detecting and combating pollution and to prevent violations of anti-pollution regulations.

The Bonn Agreement is a network of professionals with responsibility for adequate pollution response. The members of the Bonn Agreement are Belgium, Denmark, European Community, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

As part of the co-operation within the agreement the Bonn Agreement Counter Pollution Manual has been elaborated. It contains information needed for counter-pollution operations and general reference material concerning policy/strategy of pollution combating. The Contracting Parties to the Agreement also co-operate on aerial surveillance over the North Sea with the purpose to detect spillages of oil and other harmful substances that can threaten the marine environment of the North Sea. These spillages caused by accident or made in contravention of international conventions will be registered and if possible sampled both from sea surface and on board the suspected offender. As part of the agreement endeavours are also made to carry out regular exercises in order to strengthen the operational co-operation in pollution combating operations.

Copenhagen Agreement
. The 1971 Copenhagen Agreement (revised in 1993) between Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, addresses marine oil pollution. The Contracting Parties agree to cooperate on surveillance, investigations, reporting, securing of evidence, combatting and assistance in combatting, as well as general exchange of information in order to protect the marine environment from pollution by oil or other hazardous substances. (Site only available in Swedish. Text of the agreement available in Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian and Swedish).

North Sea Conference
The Fifth International Conference on the Protection of the North Sea (NSC5) was held in April 2002. Previous Conferences took place in 1984, 1987, 1990, 1993, 1995 and 1997. These Conferences are political events (Environment Ministers) for a broad and comprehensive assessment of the measures needed to protect the North Sea environment. The results are recorded in the Conference Ministerial Declarations. Matters related to the environmental impact of shipping, as well as to pollution from offshore installations, have been included in all of these Declarations, including the one from NSC5 (the Bergen Declaration. The next North Sea Conference will be held in Sweden in 2006, with "Shipping and the Environment" as the main theme.

Wadden Sea Declaration • Wadden Sea Secretariat
The Joint Declaration on the Protection of the Wadden Sea was adopted by the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark at a high-level conference in 1982. In the Declaration, the countries declared their intention to coordinate their activities and measures for the protection of the Wadden Sea. Since then seven more high-level conferences have been held (the last of which in October 2001), and the next one is scheduled for 2005. In 2002. major parts of the the German, Dutch an Danish Wadden Sea was designated as a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA) in accordance with the MARPOL Convention.

The task of the Common Wadden Sea Secretariat (CWSS) for the Trilateral Cooperation on the Protection of the Wadden Sea is to support, initiate, facilitate and coordinate the activities of the collaboration. See, e.g., the Trilateral Wadden Sea Plan; Environmental Impact Assessments; Monitoring and Assessments; Management, Publications; etc.

Rhine Convention • ICPR
The International Convention for the Protection of the Rhine replaced the 1963 Bern Convention and forms the basis for the future co-operation between the Rhine states. According to the Convention, the dumping of garbage from shipping is prohibited.

The targets of the International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine, ICPR —are sustainable development of the entire Rhine ecosystem; to guarantee the use of Rhine water for drinking water production; the improvement of the sediment quality in order to enable the use or disposal of dredged material without causing environmental harm; overall flood prevention and environmentally sound flood protection; improvement of the North Sea quality in accordance with other measures aimed at the protection of this marine area.

Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control
The Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control consists of 19 participating maritime administrations and covers the waters of the European coastal states and the North Atlantic basin from North America to Europe. It aims at eliminating the operation of sub-standard ships through a harmonized system of port state control. Annually, over 18,000 inspections take place on board foreign ships in the Paris MoU ports, ensuring that these ships meet international safety and environmental standards, and that crew members have adequate living and working conditions. See, for example, a list of banned ships (ships that jump detention or fail to call at an indicated repair yard are banned: these ships will be refused access to any port in the region of the MoU), as well as a list with photos of number of rustbucket vessels. Similar MoUs have been developed for the Mediterranean, Asia (the Tokyo MoU), Latin America (the Vina del Mar MoU), and Indian Ocean (Indian Ocean MoU).

Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes • UNECE
Convention: The UN ECE (Economic Commission for Europe) Convention of the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention) is intended to strengthen national measures for the protection and ecologically sound management of transboundary surface waters and groundwaters. The Convention obliges Parties to prevent, control and reduce water pollution from point and non-point sources. It also includes provisions for monitoring, research and development, consultations, warning and alarm systems, mutual assistance, institutional arrangements, and the exchange and protection of information, as well as public access to information. There is a Protocol to the Convention on water and health, and one on civil liability.

Commission: The primary goal of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) is to encourage greater economic cooperation among its member States. It focuses on economic analysis, environment and human settlements, statistics, sustainable energy, trade, industry and enterprise development, timber and transport. UNECE activities include policy analysis, development of conventions, regulations and standards, and technical assistance. It has 55 member States, and over 70 international professional organizations and other non-governmental organizations take part in UNECE activities. The UNECE provides the Secretariat for several environmental conventions, including the Convention of the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (see more on the UNECE Environment and Human Settlements Division).

UNEP Regional Office for Europe
UNEP's Regional Office for Europe promotes intergovernmental policy dialogue and regional cooperation, increases national capacity for environmental management and response emergencies, raises awareness and enhances information exchange, and translates global policies into regional action.

Peripheral Maritime Regions of Europe, CPMR
The membership of the Peripheral Maritime Regions of Europe (CPMR, Conférence des Régions Périphériques Maritimes d'Europe) includes 150 regions from 27 states (EU members and others), all located in one of Europe's main sea basins. They have chosen to open up towards the international scene and join transnational cooperation networks as a way of strengthening their competitiveness. The Regions of the CPMR are sub-divided into 7 geographical commissions for the Atlantic Arc, the Balkans, ilands, the inter-Mediterranean, the Baltic Sea, the North Sea, and the Black Sea.

European Sea Ports Organization, ESPO
The European Sea Ports Organization (ESPO) aims at influencing public policy in the European Union and to achieve a safe, efficient and environmentally sustainable European port sector, operating as a key element of a transport industry where free and undistorted market conditions prevail, as far as practicable. According to ESPO, ports are concerned about the environment. ESPO believes that maritime transport is central to the issue of sustainable development within Europe. The ports support measures to reduce marine pollution and discourage dumping of waste at sea. See the 2000 ESPO Waste Management Plan For Ship Generated Waste.

European Union for Coastal Conservation, EUCC
In the North Sea region, the European Union for Coastal Conservation has national branches in France, Germany, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, and Spain. The project European Regions for a Safe and Clean Coast (ERSCC) was designed to promote cooperation and the exchange of information amongst Local Authorities and other interests in preventing coastal pollution and disasters, and was carried out in 1995-1996 by the EUCC and partner organizations.

Forum Skagerrak
The Forum Skagerrak is a common initiative of the Danish, Norwegian and Swedish regions surrounding the Skagerrak area to find solutions to prioritized environmental problems where co-operation can lead to effective measures. Two conferences were organized within the framework of the first phase of the Interreg-financed Skagerrak Forum I project (1999-2001). Two quality status reports were presented as background documents for the second conference in 2001. One of these, "The Skagerrak - social and economic activities and regulative framework" includes a comprehensive review of the marine oil pollution problems in the Skagerrak region. In the conclusions from the 2001 conference, it is identified as a priority issue for further work. • In the second Interreg project, Forum Skagerrak II (2003-2007), activities include "Comparison of techniques for port reception of waste and of methods to encourage use of port reception facilities (to optimise implementation of new EU Directive)", and "Pilot project to install best practice waste reception technology at (minimum) one port in each country. Implementation of best practice methods to encourage use of port reception facilities in (minimum) one port in each country".

Local Authorities International Environmental Organisation (KIMO)
Local Authorities International Environmental Organisation (Kommunenes Internasjonale Miljöorganisation; KIMO) is an international association of local authorities, which was formally founded in 1990 to work towards cleaning up pollution in the North Sea. It has over 100 members in 8 countries including the United Kingdom, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, the Faeroes Islands, the Netherlands, and the Republic of Ireland, with associate members in Germany. KIMO holds NGO status at the North Sea Ministerial Conferences; the Committee of North Sea Senior Officials of the OSPAR Convention; and the International Maritime Organization (IMO), as part of the WWF Delegation. KIMO's primary objective is the cleaning up of the existing pollution in Northern Seas and coastal waters, of preventing future pollution and of working to preserve and enhance them and to leave them in a fit and healthy state for the well-being of future generations.

North Sea Commission
The North Sea Commission was founded in 1989 to facilitate and enhance partnerships between regions which manage the challenges and opportunities presented by the North Sea. The North Sea Commission has decided that its activities must be action orientated, involving co-operation programmes, research activities, funding applications, and joint policy statements which bring positive benefits to the people of the North Sea Basin. It is one of five Commissions under the umbrella of CPMR (the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions). The aim of the thematic group on environment — NSC Environment Group (NSCEG) — is "to progress key environmental issues, as they affect local authorities bordering the North Sea, by co-ordinating and initiating projects involving all members, or on a partnership basis. The NSCEG, through the NSC Executive Committee, will attempt to influence future research and future EU and national policies. The NSCEG will also take steps to encourage a heightened awareness of the North Sea as an important ecological area.

Seas at Risk
Seas at Risk (SAR) is an independent non-governmental federation of national and international environmental organizations concerned with the protection and restoration of the marine environment. SAR is campaigning to effect international political change on issues as diverse as overfishing and fishing-related damage to the marine environment; pollution from shipping; the harmful effects of offshore oil and gas exploration and exploitation; species and habitat protection; and the introduction of hazardous substances into the marine environment. SAR is an official observer in the North Sea Conference process; the OSPAR Commission; and the UN IMO. News on marine issues of concerns, and NGO activities, are published monthly in the SAR Bulletin.

Coastwatch Europe started in 1987 in Ireland and became an international network in 23 European countries of environmental groups, universities and other educational establishments, who in turn work with local groups and individuals around the coast of Europe. Common aims of Coastwatch have been the protection and sustainable use of our coastal resources, and informed public participation in environmental planning and management, including Coastal Zone Management. See the Harbour Waste Management Database , an inventory of waste reception facilities and management practise in harbours of the South Irish Sea (an Interreg Clean Seas project).