Seventy representatives from all Arctic states will meet in Reykjavík next week to work towards a legally binding international agreement on reciprocal assistance in the event of an oil spill in the Arctic Ocean.
Ministers agreed on the launching of the international agreement at the last Arctic Council ministerial meeting, held in Nuuk in May 2011. The region has seen increased activity in the shipping and oil industries in recent years.
The obligation of mutual assistance, enhanced collaboration, training and information sharing between response parties in the region is described in press release by the Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs as the main benefit of the agreement.
The governments in the region possess diverse expertise and equipment to deal with oil spills in cold, icy waters. The agreement may work to increase cooperation between Arctic countries and is important in protecting the waters and coastline around Iceland, the purity of which the country relies on.