20/12/2014 Promotion of national capacities for oil spill response in Sudan

A delegate from PERSGA visited Sudan during 20-26 December 2014 to mobilize efforts for launching a new project phase, which shall carry on establishment and operation of a national coordination center for oil spill response. Furthermore, the visit also aimed at identifying priority issues to be considered in formulating upcoming PERSGA on-the-ground projects in the country.  
This mission comes to put into action recommendations of a formal meeting that joined HE PERSGA SG, Dr. Ziad Abu Ghararah and HE Minister of Environment, Forestry and Physical Planning in Sudan Dr. Hassan A. Hilal, on sidelines of the last CAMRE summit in November 2014 at Jeddah.The PERSGA delegate included Dr. Salim Al-Maghrabi (environmental expert) and Dr. Ahmed Khalil (Regional Coordinator for Living Marine Resources and Climate Change). The mission program contained several meetings and field visits, which were well arranged by PERSGA focal point in Sudan.
The team was joined in Khartoum by Ms Ekhlas Adam, director of Marine Administration at the Ministry, Dr. Mahgoub Hassan, coordinator of the previous project phase, and Dr. Siddig Eisa, General Manager of Safety and Environment at the Ministry of Petroleum. As planned, the technical team had meetings with their Excellencies, Ministers of Environment, Transport, and Petroleum in Khartoum. In Port Sudan, the team had another series of meetings with several stakeholders, including the Ministry of Environment and Tourism of the Red Sea State, the Red Sea University, the Seaports Corporation; Bashair1 Oil Terminal, the Navy Force, Wildlife Administration, the Sudanese Environment Conservation and the Marine Environment Protection Societies in Port Sudan. HE Dr. Hassan Hilal, Minister of Environment, Forestry and Physical Planning indicate the well established and significant collaboration with PERSGA in protection of the Red Sea environment, and stressed in the importance of establishment and operation of National Center for Oil Spill Response in the Sudan’s coastal area.
He also indicated other priority issues that require urgent actions through collaborative efforts with PERSGA, which include setting out the planned activities of the strategic ecosystem management project (SEM) at Dungonab MPA as a pilot site of the project; coral reefs assessment and monitoring; establishing mangrove nurseries and restoration of degraded mangroves; elimination of hazardous pesticide and electronic wastes accumulated in some stockpile in Port Sudan, which poses threats to marine environment in the area; capacity building and raising awareness among fishing communities to help sustain fishery resource; review of legislation to mainstream international environmental conventions; and updating the National Plan for Oil Spill Emergency and Response developed through PERSGA in 2003. The Minister insisted on urgent interventions addressing such priority issues, because any further delay leads to their manifestation and complications, posing more impacts on the environment, which may bring about critical situations that require much higher costs for remedies. Tribute In his meeting with PERSGA team, HE Dr. Babiker Ahmed Nahar, Minister of Transport values the leading role of PERSGA in the regional efforts for conservation of marine environment, and indicated its sustained cooperation with Sudan. He indicated the importance of the importance of founding and effective operation of the National Center for Oil Spill Response in the Sudan’s coastal area in collaboration with PERSGA, and coordination with ministries of Environment and Petroleum.
HE clarified that the Sudanese Ministerial Council has recently ratified MARPOL and OPRC Conventions, while another portfolio of five IMO conventions is in progress to be approved by the country. This will require more close collaborations with PERSGA and IMO to promote national capacities for implementation of the ratified conventions.HE Dr. Mohamed Zaid, the State Minister of Petroleum indicated that the Ministry is dedicated to protect the marine environment, and it has established special directorate for safety and environment, which implements strict strategy and program in this regard. He indicated that the Ministry has recently promoted preparedness and response capacities at Bashair1 and 2 terminals to Tier II level. In this framework, the Ministry of Petroleum welcomes and values collaboration with PERSGA in harmony with PERSGA national focal point at the Ministry of Environment, and the Ministry of Transport as a chief partner to execute phase 2 of the joined project to establish and operate National Coordination Centre for Oil Pollution Response; and promote relevant national capacities.HE Mr. Abdullah Kunna, Minister of Environment and Tourism of the Red Sea State explained that the state is only one in Sudan that consists of a Ministry for Environment in its local government body, which reflects that the country considers the importance of marine environment.
The Sudanese Red Sea coast is particularly rich in biodiversity, extending over 750 km and includes around 75 islands. He recommended establishing effective services and facilities for reception of the oil used by ships, in addition to strengthening capacities for the oil pollution response through the proposed project.In his meeting with PERSGA delegate, the deputy manager of the Sea Ports Corporation ensured the importance of accomplishing and operation of the National Centre for Oil Spill Response, and the full support of the Corporation to host the centre at the Maritime Administration, and to cooperate as a major partner in implementing the coming phase of this important project.The Vice Chancellor of the Red Sea University, Prof Abulraouf Ahmed Abbas valued the strong collaboration of the university with PERSGA, particularly in conducting surveys and assessments of marine environment and training. The deputy dean Faculty of Marine Sciences and Fisheries, Dr. Sheikheldin Al-Amin pointed that some recent statistics indicates serious pressures from commercial collection of ornamental fishes, which call for its assessment and urgent action. The university is standing by to collaborate with PERSGA in conducting permanent monitoring of coral reefs, mangroves and other coastal habitatsLt. Col. Eng. Musa Ahmed Musa explained the important role of the Navy Force in the protection of marine environment through monitoring and surveillance in cooperation with fishery and wildlife authorities.
The marine forces also undertake training in marine conservation issues for its officers, and collaborate in this with research and academic institutes. They welcome cooperation in establishment of the National Center for Oil Spill Response and implementing the National Oil Spill Contingency plan.Maj. Nasreldin Al-Halangy, Director of Wildlife Administration in the Red Sea indicated that the keenness of the Administration to protect marine environment as part its mandate, and cooperate with PERSGA in coordination with head wildlife authority at the federal government and relevant authorities at the local government.
He valued collaboration with PERSGA projects and activities including the proposed National Center for Oil Spill Response, and the commencing activities of the strategic ecosystem management project (SEM) at Dungonab MPA as a pilot site of the project.The meeting with chairs of environment conservation societies in Port Sudan insisted in their roles as major partners in protection of marine environment. Damage caused by boat anchorage on coral reefs is a big concern with ever increasing diving tourism; therefore, installation of mooring buoys at diving sites is becoming an urgent need. Assistance by PERSGA in this regard is required, in addition to extending support of awareness programs; assessment of the status of ornamental fishes; and elimination of some abandoned containers including stored stocks of pesticide and electronic wastes, which poses serious threats to safety and health of marine environment.

The Regional Organization for the Conservation of the Environment in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden