Terms of Reference of the conference for the European Heads of Coast Guards

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The aim of the conference is to study and contribute to the development from a practitioners perspective to maritime issues of importance related to traditional Coast Guard functions such as maritime security, maritime surveillance, maritime safety, border control, maritime pollution response, vessel traffic management, accident and disaster response, marine environment, search and rescue, fisheries control and connected law enforcement functions.

The conference addresses the national Heads of Coast Guards or equivalent Heads of Services, as well as EU bodies competent in the fields mentioned above.

The main aim of the conference is improving awareness of developments in the maritime domain and developing a common understanding at European level on the various Coast Guards functions. The conference aims particularly at the following objectives:

To build and maintain a network of Heads of National authorities for Coast Guard

Functions and respective EU agencies and bodies

  • To promote exchange of experiences and learning from best practices
  • To monitor ongoing development in the maritime domain that have an impact on Coast Guard functions
  • To promote cross border and cross sectoral cooperation
  • To promote common procedural and operational standards,
  • To reach common understanding on the challenges and threats at the maritime domain as well as on the various Coast Guard tasks,
  • To identify needs for cross-border cooperation, technical assistance, exchange of knowledge and best practises at EU level related to Coast Guard functions,
  • To provide recommendations and advice to the development of Coast Guard functions within the European Union.

Issues raised and discussed during the conference, specifically related to the maritime domain and especially Coast Guard related tasks, may result in decisions to conduct further work. This work may be done either by the secretariat or through special tailored ad hoc working groups directed by a national lead partner. Decisions on further work will be made by the chairman and results of the work will be presented during the following conference. EU bodies can propose to support the implementation of such actions according to their mandate.

Participation at the Conference is limited to the representatives of member states and Schengen associated countries, coast guard and/or relevant authorities within the maritime domain.

The conference chairman may decide to invite representatives from third countries and international organisations to the conference as observers. Observers have the right to express their opinion at the meetings.

The Conference for the Heads of the European Coast Guards will, in principle be arranged annually. The national Coast Guard Service or equivalent responsible for chairmanship for the next year conference will be selected and appointed at the closing of each conference. National Coast Guard Service or equivalent willing to chair and host the next conference should indicate this to the chairman in advance of the conference.

EU bodies may provide the necessary administrative support and/or financial sponsorship for the planning and execution of the conference and related activities.

A secretariat should be appointed. The secretariat should meet well in advance before the next meeting to plan and prepare the next conference and take care of any outstanding issues from the last meeting. The secretariat is organised and chaired by the nation responsible for the chairmanship for the forthcoming conference. The secretariat should also be responsible for dealing with issues described in paragraph 4 above. The chailman should ensure continuity in the secretariat work.

The secretariat should comprise:

  • One representative of the upcoming chairmanship (At least) (Secretariat chairman)
  • One representative of the former chairmanship (At least)
  • One/two representative(s) from a northern European MS/SAC (At least)
  • One/two representative(s) from southern European MS (At least)
  • Representatives from ED bodies competent in Coast Guard functional fields at the institutions discretion.

The total number of secretariat members should not exceed ten persons.

The chairman should issue brief results and conclusions on the outcome of the conference at the handover to the next chairman. Minutes from the conference should be distributed to participants by the host responsible for the conference no later than two months after the conference.

The format, agenda and arrangements of the conference are at the discretion of the host. The agenda should include but not be limited to:

  • Presentation of work done in working groups or by the secretariat
  • Suggestions on amendments to this document
  • Presentation of next year's chailmanl host
  • Composition of the following meeting secretariat

This Terms of Reference document is owned by the conference chailman. Suggestions on amendments to this document should be addressed to the secretariat for staffing and coordination. Decisions on amendments will be taken at the following conference.

September 7, 2011
Judith Melin
Director General, Swedish Coast Guard
Chairman 3rd Conference

© Forum of the Heads of the Coast Guards
Functions of the European Union and
Schengen associated countries