The Agreement for cooperation in dealing with pollution of the North Sea by oil and other harmful substances (the Bonn Agreement) was signed in Bonn, Germany on 9 June 1969. It is the mechanism by which the North Sea States and the European Community (the Contracting Parties) work together to:
- help each other in combating pollution in the North Sea Area from maritime disasters and chronic pollution from ships and offshore installations;
- carry out surveillance as an aid to detecting and combating pollution at sea.
The North Sea States are Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
The issue of oiled wildlife response was first brought to the attention of the Bonn Agreement in 2007, when it was discussed within the Working Group on Operational, Technical and Scientific Questions concerning Counter Pollution Activities (OTSOPA). In 2009 OTSOPA agreed to develop a chapter on oiled wildlife response for the Bonn Agreement Counter-Pollution Manual. Along similar lines to the HELCOM Response Manual, Volume II chapter 2.10 of the Manual now includes guidelines for bringing in international support for oiled wildlife response, changes to the POLREP reporting system to reflect wildlife aspects and guidance on developing national response plans which would put these tools into operation during an incident.
OTSOPA Contracting Parties also use a Self-Assessment Tool developed by Sea Alarm to report on countries’ progress in developing oiled wildlife preparedness.