The biennial Regional Conference of the Global Initiative for West, Central and Southern Africa (GI WACAF Project) will be held from the 4 to 8 November, in Swakopmund, Namibia, and will be jointly organized by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), IPIECA (the global oil and gas industry association for environmental and social issues), and the Ministry of Works and Transport of the Republic of Namibia.
Risks of oil spills are presenting new challenges to the region, as a result of increased oil and gas activities in the Central, Southern and Western parts of Africa, so the broad objective of the GI WACAF Regional Oil Spill Conference, is to ensure an effective response to these challenges by promoting public/private partnership for effective oil spill response.
Industry and Government stakeholders from 22 west, central and southern African countries (Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Cape Verde, the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mauritania, Namibia, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Togo) and several leading international oil spill preparedness and response experts are expected to attend the 2013 conference, which follows those held in Gabon (April 2006), Republic of Congo (December 2007), Cameroon (November 2009), and Nigeria (November 2011).
The Conference is expected to focus on capacity building, under the theme “Oil Spill Preparedness and Response Capability in West, Central and Southern Africa: Sustaining momentum in a changing world of oil spill risks”. The main objectives of will be to:
• raise awareness on oil spill preparedness and response issues with an emphasis on the challenges in the region;
• facilitate information sharing and lessons learned in the region;
• review the progresses achieved since the last regional conference; and
• determine priority actions for the coming biennium 2014-2015 to strengthen oil spill response capability in the region.
Discussions are expected to centre on key technical preparedness and response topics, including legislation, management systems, contingency planning, international co-operation, training and response resources.
“The GI WACAF Project provides unique opportunities for governments and industry to share best practices and work together in partnership on oil spill preparedness and response challenges. There have been many great achievements across the region since the project was launched in 2006. This 2013 biennium conference is a key milestone and a critical moment to come together and review progress, look ahead at how oil spill risks are evolving and to define the next steps to continue achieving our goals”, said Richard Santner, Senior Advisor, Oil Spill Response, BP, and Chairman of the GI WACAF Project since 2011.
The conference will provide a unique opportunity for national delegates and industry representatives to consider ways to enhance and strengthen their preparedness and response systems, alongside international technical experts. Delegates will also have the opportunity to comment on the progress achieved since the inception of the GI WACAF Project, and exchange their experience and best practices.
GI WACAF Project
The Global Initiative for West, Central and Southern Africa (GI WACAF Project), which was in 2006, is a partnership between the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and IPIECA, the global oil and gas industry association for environmental and social issues, to enhance the capacity of countries to prepare for and respond to marine oil spills.
The Project area covers 22 West, Central and Southern African countries and its main task is to organize workshops, training, seminars and deployment exercises with national authorities in charge of oil spill response, in partnership with local businesses.
IMO, October 24, 2013