OIL SPILL project, which is one of the partner projects of POPCORN, organised their final conference in Helsinki in end of November. The event could be attended remotely, which has become "the way" to attend conferences in the past 20 months or so. But this event could be attended in person as well, and since it took only a short domestic train trip to reach the event venue, POPCORN was out of the bag and on the railroad!
OIL SPILL was running out of time - as projects tend to do - and the hard drives of the laptops were crammed with project results, which had to be shared with the rest of the world. Therefore, it made only sense to gather the troops and other fellow champions of oil spills to Helsinki and spill the beans. Pandemic had been a severe cause of nuisance also for OIL SPILL, and corrective measures had to be taken to deliver the outputs that had been set to be done. The programme of the day was most informative, not a stone was left unturned along the coast of the Baltic Sea, as project partners and other stakeholders took to the stage.
Morning session that summarised the outcomes for Finland was very concrete and highlighted the different aspects related to oil spill response. It was really interesting to hear about the deployment of volunteers in oil spill response, which seems to be a model that other countries could follow to boost their preparedness. "Lessons learned" and "things to be improved" were not hidden under the carpet, but were openly discussed. Plans can only be tested by organising proper exercises, whether they are in table top form or out in the field. Several exercises had been carried out in OIL SPILL, which had significantly improved the understanding about the status quo of oil spill response.
Afternoon's session with international project partners was by no means lighter in content. Cross-border cooperation is key in combating environmental challenges, and by sharing experiences and best practices, one can help others to improve and also improve oneself. And naturally, besides the hard facts, conferences are excellent venues to meet and discuss these themes. There were plenty of useful conversations about POPCORN and how the OIL SPILL partners could be engaged in the project activities during the day. And as the conference programme was heading towards the end, and the participants were getting a bit weary and anxious, a puffin was released to the stage. The bird had a reassuring message to the audience: "Even if OIL SPILL is coming to an end now, it will continue to live in POPCORN...". And be ready, POPCORN will start properly rumble as year 2021 turns into 2022. Several exciting webinars about oil spill response and plastic pollution of seas are on their way, plus so much more!
If you want to read more about the final conference of OIL SPILL, watch the recording of the conference or check the presentations, head to the homepage of the project.
Visit also Flickr of OIL SPILL to see the highlights in pictures.