In 2009, EU funding was secured to develop the EMPOWER network, via an Operating Grant under the Financial Instrument for the Environment LIFE+ programme. EMPOWER stands for European Management Programme for Oiled Wildlife and other marine wildlife Emergency Responses. The inititaive was designed as a means of developing tools and mechanisms allowing NGOs to develop their expertise together in being prepared for responding to oiled wildlife incidents. The network could not continue its activities after 2009 as further EU-funding could not be secured, however the spirit and philosphy behind EMPOWER has been incorporated into today's EUROWA activities, described below.
After the EC's Community Framework came to an end in 2006, marine wildlife emergency projects later became eligible for EU funding through the Civil Protection Mechanism Financial Instrument (which allowed marine pollution projects in its scope). Two projects have been co-financed through the prevention and preparedness funding programme:
- POSOW (Oil-polluted Shoreline clean-up and Oiled Wildlife interventions) in 2012-13, led by REMPEC
- EUROWA (European Module for Oiled Wildlife Response Assistance) in 2015-16
The POSOW project developed a package of training materials for volunteers to provide first-aid to oil affected wildlife within an authority-led system. EUROWA was a project designed to create a coordinated team of wildlife repsonse experts and equipment that could be mobilised to assist any Member State in dealing with wildlife challenges during an oil spill incident, via the Civil Protection Mechanism. The EUROWA network is still active and has incorporated the results of the POSOW project, more details can be found on the EUROWA project pages.