24 October 2019, 13:26
Oil spill response in Africa: GI WACAF project, 13 years of success
From 28 to 31 October, Cape Town (South Africa) will host the eighth Regional Conference of the Global Initiative for West, Central and Southern Africa (GI WACAF).
The main objectives of the conference are to address the challenges of oil spill preparedness and response in the region, to review the progress achieved since the last Regional Conference, and to highlight the benefits of the GI WACAF Project. The event will also be used to agree on a two-year action plan (2020-2021) to strengthen oil spill preparedness and response in the region.
The Conference is organized by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and IPIECA, the global oil and gas industry association for advancing environmental and social performance, in close collaboration with the Government of the Republic of South Africa, particularly the Department of Transport and its agency, the South African Maritime Safety Agency (SAMSA).
In view of the risks that these pollution events represent for the marine environment, it is paramount to foster cooperation between the countries of the region so that they can respond to oil spills in an effective manner. Cooperation with the local oil industry, a key aspect of the project, is also strongly encouraged.
The success of the Project relies heavily on the involvement of the countries themselves. Thus, as part of the Regional Conference, participants will be invited to discuss progress made and activities carried out since the launch of the Project, on the one hand, and share their experiences and good practices with their regional counterparts, on the other hand. Countries will also need to highlight their priorities to build the GI WACAF work program for the next two years. A panel of international experts will be present to facilitate the technical discussions.
In addition, it is essential to draw lessons through, amongst others, exercises in order to strengthen the States' preparedness and response capacities. In this regard, South Africa, as a precursor country, is organizing it’s 3rd Joint Industry-Government national exercise next week (6-7 November 2019). The GI WACAF Project was able to demonstrate its adaptability to accommodate the government's request by delivering a 2-day course on Incident Management System (IMS) 300 and to facilitate the exercise (4-5 November). For 13 years, the Project has been supporting its partner countries by continually strengthening its portfolio of skills to support their development.
The conference will bring together key government and industry representatives from the 22 African partner countries of the GI WACAF project.
 Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Cabo Verde, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, Mauritania, Namibia, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Africa, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.
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