Origin of the European Coast Guard Functions Forum
The initiative of a European Coast Guard Functions Forum (ECGFF) was first launched in 2009.
A Conference of the Heads of Coast Guards Authorities of EU Member States and Schengen Associated Countries, supported by FRONTEX, was then arranged in Warsaw, just when a parallel initiative in Genoa, from the Italian Coast Guard, was giving origin to the Mediterranean Coast Guard Forum (MEDFORUM).
In Poland, participants agreed to develop together an inter-agency cooperation, coordination and multifunctional performance for jointly approach the future challenges in the fields of maritime border security, maritime safety, search and rescue, marine environmental protection and other maritime issues. The main goal remains to make coherent the activities among Member States and relevant EU bodies in this field. Other Conferences followed: Malaga (April 2010), Malmoe (September 2011), Dublin (2012), Chios (2013) and Italy (2014) assigning to the Forum a double role of meeting place for sharing Coast Guard issues and that of possible instrument to supply effective technical counseling for the European Institutions. The VII Plenary Conference will be held in Helsinki, Finland and during the Conference UK will take over the presidency of the Forum.
The general structure of the Forum has been progressively set. It envisages a Plenary Conference that gathers once a year and shares the acceptance of candidacies for the Chairmanship which is assisted by a Secretariat which meets three times a year to develop the mandate annually assigned by the Plenary Conference. Over the course of time Terms of Reference have been established listing the functions related to the dialogue of the Forum and also its general objectives. Recently mandates of the Plenary Conference aimed to start the European Coast Guard Functions Academy Network project for European Sectorial Qualification's Framework for Coast Guarding and established a Brussels 'Group Office of the Forum in Brussels, Belgium.