In the aftermath of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound, Alaska - a diplomatic process was established through the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to encourage improved levels of oil spill preparedness amongst maritime nations.
The Oil Pollution Preparedness Response and Cooperation (OPRC) Convention of 1990 also called for improved cooperation in respect of oil spill planning and response between neighbouring states, and also between the authorities in charge of a spill and the oil industry which typically provides the response expertise and capability.
In 1995 a formal government-industry partnership was established to help promote and embed the Convention and assist governments with the implementation of its provisions. The Global Initiative (or "GI" as it quickly became known) also represents "Government" and "Industry" in the ultimate embodiment of the principle of partnership and used the subtitle of "Working Together" as its enduring theme.
The programme is jointly sponsored by IMO representing the governments of maritime nations, and IPIECA which represents a wide environmentally focused consensus group of International Oil Companies (IOCs).
OSRL has been an integral technical partner, working in tandem with IPIECA since the beginning of the GI, in respect of our shared industry membership.
Since the original launch in 1995, GI has now matured into a number of focused regional programmes and continues to evolve to meet the changing risk profile that world demand for oil now creates.
Each regional GI programme is unique in style, profile and governance but each underpinned by the core elements of government and industry partnership adapted to suit the identified regional risks.
As new exploration and production regions emerge and shipping risks evolve, the need to transport oil from the producer nations to the consumer nations changes, so new demands to establish new GI programmes arise.
The principal stakeholders (IMO and IPIECA supported by OSRL) remain committed to sustaining, enhancing and expanding the GI programme in all its national and regional manifestations.
The Global Initiative for West, Central and Southern Africa (GI WACAF Project) is a partnership between the 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 high level of oil exploration, production, and transportation in the West, Central and Southern African region, means that there exists a threat of oil spills occurring. In response to this risk, GI WACAF was launched in 2006, with the objective of raising standards of oil spill preparedness and response capability.
OSRL is a key technical partner of the GI WACAF project and provides important knowledge and expertise to help ensure increased levels of oil spill preparedness in the WACAF region.
GI WACAF activities are focused upon three broad categories:
National level activities focused upon the core elements of the Oil Pollution Response Cooperation Convention (OPRC 90)
At the national level, GI WACAF prioritises the support of practical exercises to test the respective National Oil Spill Contingency Plans (NOSCP), and where needed supports the foundational development of NOSCP's through workshops.
Sub-regional activities focused upon Transboundary cooperation
At the sub-regional level, the focus is upon trans-boundary cooperation between adjoining countries that share common oil spill risks. Particular emphasis has been placed upon trans-boundary exercises.
For specialised topics focus is upon developing; sensitivity mapping, dispersant policy, claims and compensation, Incident Management Systems, Shoreline Clean-up, and Waste Management capability through sub-regional and national workshops.