Africa considers oil response plans

April 21, 2011 at 8:36 AM
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ACCRA, Ghana, April 21 (UPI) -- Parties to the Abidjan Convention in Ghana agreed to set up a contingency plan to address possible oil spills, a U.N. agency said.

Delegates from West, Central and South Africa met in Ghana to work on a plan that creates a regional center of operations to respond to an oil spill or other disaster in their waters, the U.N. Environment Program announced.

The plan complements national polices already in place and gives governments the means to share information on spills or other similar incidents.

The coastal waters of Africa are considered vital to the regional economy. Rapid development in Africa, however, is creating new environmental problems for the region, the U.N. agency said.

Several of the parties to the Abidjan Convention, a regional agreement addressing pollution and general marine health, said offshore development was an emerging part of the regional economy.

Governments from 19 of the 22 countries in the region expressed concern, however, about the potential for an offshore oil disaster like last year's Deepwater Horizon accident in the Gulf of Mexico.

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