In the Nuuk Declaration dated 12 May 2011, the Ministers of the Arctic Council member states decided “to establish a Task Force, reporting to the Senior Arctic Officials, to develop an international instrument on Arctic marine oil pollution preparedness and response, and called for the Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response (EPPR) and other relevant working groups to develop recommendations and/or best practices in the prevention of marine oil pollution; the preliminary or final results of both to be presented jointly at the next Ministerial meeting in 2013”.
In the Senior Arctic Officials’ Report to Ministers in May 2011 in Nuuk, Greenland, the Senior Arctic Officials stated the following:
“The Arctic is likely to see increased shipping and efforts to exploit the natural resources of the region in the coming decades. This, in turn, increases the potential for harm to both human life and the Arctic environment.
Arctic Council working groups have developed various oil-related and emergency response-related products, but there is no marine oil pollution response instrument specific to the Arctic. The International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation (OPRC) is a framework for international cooperation in combating incidents or threats of marine oil pollution, to which all eight Arctic States are parties. Article 10 of the OPRC promotes the development of bilateral and multilateral agreements for oil pollution preparedness and response, such as on a regional basis.”
The Senior Arctic Officials recommended that the Ministers “mandate a task force to develop an international instrument on Arctic marine oil pollution preparedness and response” and further recommended that “the EPPR working group in close collaboration with other relevant working groups develop recommendations and/or best practices in the prevention of marine oil pollution. The preliminary or final results of both should be presented at the next Ministerial meeting in 2013”.
The Task Force was co-chaired by Norway, Russia and the United States. The first four meetings of the Task Force were held in Oslo in October 2011, and in St.Petersburg in December 2011, near Anchorage, Alaska (USA) in March 2012 and in Helsinki in June 2012. The Task Force completed its work for the Kiruna Ministerial Meeting in May 2013.