Move afoot to foster partnerships to reduce marine pollution in wider Caribbean

Wednesday, August 29, 2012    

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THE Caribbean is, in the coming months, to see a move to strengthen public and private sector partnerships to bring about a reduction in land-based sources of pollution across the region.

This, in line with a slew of recommendations from the first meeting of the Scientific, Technical and Advisory Committee (STAC) to the Protocol Concerning Pollution from Land-based Sources and Activities (LBS Protocol) earlier this year.

"It will require continued and greater commitment by Governments of the wider Caribbean countries to ratify the LBS Protocol and take measures to control, reduce and prevent marine pollution, especially in the area of enforcement and monitoring," said Christopher Corbin, programme officer with the United Nations (UN) Caribbean Environment Programme (CEP) — the entity responsible for driving the process.

The protocol, adopted in October of 1999 and entered into force in August of 2012, is intended to help UN member states in the wider Caribbean to meet their obligations under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, as well as the Global Plan of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities.

Together, according to the CEP website, they emphasise the need to act at the regional level to "reduce the pollutant load to the seas from land-based sources and activities".

Other recommendations coming out of the meeting, held in Aruba from June 5 to 7, included that:

* countries assist the Secretariat of the Cartagena Convention — under which the LBS Protocol is provided for — to identify potential partners and sources of funding for ongoing and new projects and activities in particular unfunded projects;

* in the development and implementation of new projects and activities, efforts be made to use existing expertise and capacity in the region, including the LBS Regional Activity Centres and Regional Activity Networks;

* the Secretariat of the Cartagena Convention continue to work directly with parties (to the Cartagena Convention) that have not yet ratified the LBS Protocol to complete the ratification process and continue to expand their use of communication tools and the website to demonstrate the benefits, in particular the economic benefits, of the protocol to member governments; and

* future meetings of the STAC and Conference of the Parties (CoP) to the Cartagena Convention, including the first LBS CoP set for October this year, seek to include broader representation, such as from non-governmental organisations and the private sector.

Corbin, who has responsibility for the Assessment and Management of Environment Pollution sub-programme of the CEP, has indicated they will be moving swiftly to have the recommendations implemented.

However, he said that the first order of business will be to submit them to the first CoP to the LBS Protocol, which is to be held in the Dominican Republic on 24th October.

"The implementation would formally begin as part of the new biennial 2013-2014 Work Plan," noted Corbin, who also chaired the opening ceremony of the STAC meeting in June.

"[However], certain recommendations concerning process and fund-raising for the Secretariat would begin almost immediately while project-related recommendations would begin from 2013 as those related activities are implemented," he added.

Critical to seeing to the successful implementation, Corbin noted, will be partnerships across the region.

"It will require the secretariat to enhance partnerships, especially with private sector for pollution prevention activities," said Corbin.

Meanwhile, parties to the LBS Protocol are required, among other things, to continue to:

* take appropriate measures to prevent, reduce and control pollution from land-based sources and activities; and

* develop and implement appropriate plans, programmes and measures, and adopting effective means of preventing, reducing and/or controlling pollution from land-based sources and activities in their respective territories.

It also requires that parties jointly develop regional and sub-regional plans, programmes and measures to prevent, reduce and control pollution from land-based sources and activities, in accordance with their respective laws and their individual social, economic and environmental characteristics.



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