The Action Plan (to be further developed by the end of 2009) will strengthen joint prevention, preparedness and response to marine pollution from shipping and other maritime activities in one of the world's busiest international shipping areas. The Action Plan is an important step towards a clean and healthy Greater North Sea and approaches (which will include Irelands Exclusive Economic Zone waters) and was made at the annual meeting of contracting parties to the Bonn Agreement from 7-9 October in Bonn, Germany.
In his message to the meeting, Wolfgang Tiefensee, Federal Minister of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs, Germany, congratulated the Bonn Agreement Contracting Parties on 40 years of successful work. He said that he was convinced that in future the Bonn Agreement will "yet again make a successful contribution" to achieve a good environmental status for the seas by 2020, a goal set by the Integrated Maritime Policy for the European Union and its environmental pillar, the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.
Delegates from all eight North Sea States and the European Community, plus observers from Ireland and Spain, together with guests from other maritime organisations unanimously agreed that continuing efforts were needed to protect the values of the North Sea against risks from maritime activities.
Speaking today from Bonn, Director of the Irish Coast Guard Chris Reynolds said:"Work is well advanced on Ireland becoming full signatories to the Bonn Agreement following on from a unamious invitation of all contracting parties. This means the Sea Area covered by the Agreement will be enlarged to include Irish waters. The dangers of accidents and pollution in our waters continue as a result of bigger vessels and growing volumes of cargo. The Action Plan agreed today will strengthen our joint pollution prevention and control measures. We look forward to hosting the next meeting of the Bonn Agreement in Dublin in December 2010."
Ms Pia Bucella, Chair of the Bonn Agreement and Director at the European Commission, concluded a tribute to the anniversary proceedings saying "I am convinced that the Bonn Agreement Action Plan, addressing some of these challenges, has the potential for becoming a key milestone in the further development of the Agreement". The next Bonn Agreement meeting will be hosted by Ireland in Dublin in November 2010.