EUROWA hosts Integrated Management workshops for European authorities
In February and March of 2022, as part of the EUROWA-2 project, a pair of workshops on dealing effectively with wildlife challenges during pollution emergencies introduced participants to the ways in which various authorities should be involved in response to wildlife within a wider emergency response.
Originally envisioned as in-person workshops, COVID-19 restrictions meant the EUROWA team had to be creative in making the interaction sessions work online. At the same time, the online format meant that workshop could accommodate more participants. Using a combination of presentations and exercises, the EUROWA team led participants through the various steps they would need to take to smoothly integrate wildlife response into their management efforts, from considering aspects of Planning, Logistics, Operations and Finance (PLOF) to development of field response needs and rehabilitation facility design. The workshops highlighted the fact that true integration of oiled wildlife response into emergency management cannot be achieved by any one authority alone— multi-agency contributions and engagement are needed.
The workshop also familiarised participants with the educational tools and resources being developed during the EUROWA-2 project. A key aspect of this project is to assist EU authorities in their efforts toward better preparedness and increased capability to respond to oiled wildlife within the realm of integrated management principles.
Presentations and exercises reinforced the idea that cooperation between authorities and wildlife response NGOs is critical for an effective, safe response to oiled animals. And that inclusion of NGOs in training and exercises serves to strengthen the bond between authorities and NGOs, making those responses successful.
Resources that will become available to authorities during 2022 include:
• Guidelines providing background information and motivation for oiled wildlife response preparedness
• Guidelines for exercise development
• The WILDEX tabletop exercise package
• E-learning modules for authorities
Nearly 20 countries and three Regional Agreements (The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission/HELCOM, the Bonn Agreement for dealing with pollution in the North Sea, and the Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Response Centre for the Mediterranean/REMPEC ) participated in the workshop.
Post-workshop evaluations showed that participants found the sessions valuable. Most also concluded that having a EUROWA presence in their country would be valuable for wildlife emergency response and that the EUROWA initiative is important to help their country become better prepared.