PERSGA/UNEP capacity building initiative on marine pollution preparedness, contingency planning and response: objectives, main interventions and outcomes

Given the new establishment of the higher emergency national committee by the Yemen Prime minister decree 21/2020 dated 5 October 2020 and the importance to update/exercise contingency plans to respond to possible oil spill from the FSO SAFER, PERSGA in close collaboration with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and UNEP supports and provide expertise to assist the  Government of Yemen and the national emergency committee , to fulfill its mandate, including to set up the mechanism of regional/international offers of assistance likely to be required.

In light of the needed support for the newly established committee and to provide effective support for the implementation of the regional/national capacity building programs as set out in the PERSGA ROSCP, UNEP and PERSGA have established a partnership which aims to cooperate in enhancing preparedness to implement the contingency plan. The focus of the preparedness activities are to provide capacity building support to the national emergency committee and to conduct virtual simulation to exercise the contingency plan.

Main interventions to date and outcomes

  • PERSGA developed regional procedures to implement the regional contingency Plan and to facilitate response efforts to marine pollution in the event of spill from the FSO SAFER. It is foreseen that these regional procedures (that has been made available at both English and Arabic versions) ought to be circulated to PERSGA countries, UNEP and IMO prior to the regional tabletop exercise that will help determine communication/notification effectiveness.
  • Under this framework, national on ground training of trainers ( composed of Yemeni national core response teams) on Oiled Shoreline Assessment& Cleanup (SCAT) and on Safe operation and Handling of Oil Pollution combating equipment is planned to take place at EMARSGA center in Hurghada-Egypt end of May/beginning of June 2021. PERSGA Manuals on “oiled shoreline clean up”, guide for “oil spill waste management” and Manual on “shoreline clean Up and Assessment Techniques (SCAT)” would be of great support for this forthcoming activity.
  • As part of the regional efforts to build capacities of bodies responsible for management of incidents that involves marine oil spills, PERSGA has organized a virtual regional training workshop on “The Use of Dispersants in Marine Oil Spill Response” during three days, January 26 – 28, 2021. The workshop aimed at familiarizing and improving the overall knowledge of Participants, including those from Yemen, with respect to dispersants use and application as part of response to oil spills at sea, and its importance in achieving rapid and efficient response to help reducing the impacts of spills on the marine ecosystems, sensitive habitats and the livelihoods of coastal communities. An additional objective was to pave the road for an action plan to prepare a regional Guidelines for the Use of Dispersants in combating Oil pollution at sea in the PERSGA region.