Offshore Industry Committee, OSPAR Commission, 15 March 2016, The Hague
OSPAR Commission – the current legislative instrument regulating international cooperation on environmental protection in the North-East Atlantic. It combines and updates the 1972 Oslo Convention on dumping waste at sea and the 1974 Paris Convention on land-based sources of marine pollution. Work carried out under the convention is managed by the OSPAR Commission, which is made up of representatives of the Governments of the 15 signatory nations, and representatives of the European Commission, representing the European Union.
On 15 March 2016, the International Dialogue on Underwater Munitions (IDUM) was an honorable participant of the Offshore Industry Committee organized by the OSPAR Commission in The Hague, The Netherlands.
Offshore Industry Commission has extensively discussed the following topics: the produced water, acute oil pollution, developments in the OSPAR Region Arctic waters, OSPAR Coordination Group, cooperation with international organizations, and many related issues.
During the meeting, the IDUM has played a role of an observer. It was the first meeting attended by the organization in cooperation with the OSPAR Commission. The IDUM has contributed to the valuable discussions of the Offshore Industry Committee where were discussed the issues of how to prevent and eliminate pollution and take the necessary measures to protect the OSPAR maritime area against the adverse effects of offshore oil and gas activities by setting environmental goals and improving management mechanisms, so as to safeguard human health and to conserve marine ecosystems and, when practicable, restore marine areas which have been adversely affected.
In this discussion, the issue of underwater munitions plays a critical role. The IDUM has indicated that “Chemical and conventional munitions impact our human health, and the environment from the waste they create, that is inorganic arsenic from mustard gas break-down products and DNT, a human carcinogen with a half-life of 1000’s of years that stays in our seas and oceans. All the warfare materials are spread across our seafloor, and chemical plumes drift in our oceans. Left unchecked, toxic plumes of carcinogens will migrate throughout our seas and oceans until they meet one another.” Therefore, signifying the importance of prominent underwater munitions cleanup.
The cooperation between the International Dialogue on Underwater Munitions and the OSPAR Commission is to be continued throughout the upcoming meetings.