Poland working to strengthen its oiled wildlife response arrangements
On 14th April, the EUROWA Secretariat presented EUROWA at an online meeting of oiled wildlife response stakeholders who are part of the Polish oiled wildlife response working group.
The working group is looking into strengthening and further developing national arrangements for oiled animals during oil spills. The meeting was organised and chaired by Jadwiga Moczarska of WWF Poland, member of the EUROWA network since 2019. It was attended by 21 participants from the Ministry of Climate and Environment, the Ministry of Infrastructure, the General Directorate of Environmental Protection, Ostoja wildlife rehabilitation centre, Blue Patrol volunteer leaders, WWF Poland office and Sea Alarm staff. It was conducted in Polish via simultaneous interpretation.
A national oiled wildlife response plan is in place for Poland, but the working group has recognised that this plan may need some further development, including defining how parties would work together during an oil spill and better defining what support the EUROWA network could provide. Jadwiga set the scene by explaining WWF Poland’s role and involvement in EUROWA, and indicating what areas the working group could focus on.
Hugo Nijkamp, General Manager of Sea Alarm then presented on the national system for oiled wildlife planning in the Netherlands and explained how this system was tested under actual circumstances during the Bow Jubail oil spill incident in 2018. He showed how EUROWA and experts from the Global Oiled Wildlife Response System initiative supported Dutch authorities and responders in dealing with over 500 oiled swans, and explained how the multi-annual investments that the Dutch authorities make into preparedness provided a strong basis for this successful response.
Sea Alarm’s Daniela Barreras-Biesot then presented on the role and activities of EUROWA and how the network could help Poland in case of an oil spill, emphasising that governments also have a role to play in helping the network to succeed when mobilised internationally – by developing national oiled wildlife response plans and ensuring that stakeholders regularly train and exercise together as part of an ongoing preparedness programme. In her presentation, Daniela also gave an overview of the EUROWA-2 project, highlighting activities where Polish stakeholders could participate, including authority workshops and responder training courses.
The presentations generated some good discussions around how Polish stakeholders could look at improving arrangements for wildlife during oil spills, for example by continuing to include oiled wildlife aspects in national oil spill response exercises.