Negotiations on an international agreement on Arctic marine oil pollution preparedness and response were concluded at a meeting of members of the Arctic Council in Reykjavík from October 9th to 11th. The meeting was attended by around 70 experts from USA, Finland, Iceland, Canada, Russia, Sweden and Denmark on behalf of the Faroe Islands and Greenland. The Foreign Ministers of the Arctic states decided at a their ministerial meeting in Nuuk, Greenland in 2011 to develop an international instrument on Arctic marine oil pollution preparedness and response building on the. built on the foundations of the Search and Rescue agreement that was signed in Nuuk.
The agreement involves mutual commitments to provide assistance in case of marine oil pollution, increased cooperation, training and the sharing of information between respondents in the region. The Arctic states possess a wide range of expertise and equipment to respond to oil contamination in distant, cold or icy waters. Experts from the Arctic states will continue to develop operational guidelines for the agreement. The making of the agreement is in line with the Arctic policy of the Icelandic government to further promote the Arctic Council as the main forum for Arctic cooperation and that it play a central role in strengthening the response capabilities in the region.
The agreement will be signed at the next ministerial meeting of the Council that will be held in Kiruna in Sweden in May 2013.