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Marine Pollution and Regional Oil Spill Contingency Planning

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Event Title :
Source : BSPAN
Date : 1/23/2003
Duration : 94 minutes
Language  : English
Country/Region : N/A World
Keyword : Environment Sustainable Development   Pollution Management  
Presenter : Abdelmoula Ghzala
Raj Prayag

Maritime oil spills often have severe, adverse effects on fragile and sensitive natural resources. Many developing countries rely heavily upon the maintenance of a pristine marine environment for their economic and social development through tourism and fishing industries. As trade and maritime transport increase, so does the need for limiting the risks of contamination of international waters and for conserving marine and coastal biodiversity. On January 23, 2003, Raj Prayag, Regional Project Coordinator of the Indian Ocean Commission described the case of a regional oil spill contingency planning program for Madagascar, Comoros, Seychelles, and Mauritius. The project was facilitated by contributions from neighboring South Africa and Reunion, the World Bank Global Environmental Facility (GEF), and other international organizations. He was introduced by Abdelmoula Ghzala, a World Bank engineer.

The presentation focused on how national and regional contingency plans were developed, as well as the capacity building necessary for sustainable institutional and financial agreements. In particular, Prayag focused on five key components of the projectís structure. The first component involved legal aspects such as ratification of several international conventions, training of lawyers, upgrading of national legislation, and enforcement. The second component included the preparation and updating of national oil spill contingency plans. The third component addressed equipment acquisition. The fourth component focused on training and capacity building at the local, country, and regional level. The fifth component called for the creation of a regional contingency plan and a regional coordination center.

Prayag suggested the project could be replicated in other areas. He noted that the success of the plan could be jeopardized by oil spill problems outside the regional area because of prevailing currents and trade winds may extend the range of oil spill effects beyond the islands in this project. Therefore, he hopes a larger program will be developed. He called contingency planning a common goal.

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