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Cartagena Convention and Caribbean Environment Program

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Delegates meet at the 14th Intergovernmental Meeting (IGM) afor the CEP nd the 11th Meeting of the Contracting Parties (COP) of the Cartagena Convention.

From October 6-9, 2010, in Montego Bay, Jamaica, EPA participated in the 14th Intergovernmental Meeting (IGM) on the Action Plan for the Caribbean Environment Programme and the 11th Meeting of the Contracting Parties (COP) to the Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Region (the Cartagena Convention). The Wider Caribbean Region includes 28 countries that border the Gulf of Mexico, the Straits of Florida, and the Caribbean Sea out to a distance of 200 nautical miles from shore. This meeting for Cartagena Convention Parties takes place every two years.

At the meeting, the Bahamas announced that documents for accession to the Cartagena Convention, the Oil Spill Protocol and Land-Based Sources (LBS) Protocol, had been transmitted to the Government of Colombia, the depositary country for the Cartagena Convention. The Bahamas' accession brings the total of countries which have ratified the LBS Protocol to nine, the number of participating countries required for the LBS Protocol to enter into force.

As a result, the LBS Protocol will now enter into force, protecting marine environments in the Wider Caribbean Region from land-based sources of pollution. Parties of the Protocol are obligated to establish legally binding effluent limitations for domestic sewage, and develop plans for the reduction and control of agricultural non-point sources. Learn more about the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme (CEP), the Cartagena Convention and the LBS Protocol. Exit EPA disclaimer

Parties to the LBS Protocol can request the assistance of the UNEP Caribbean Regional Coordinating Unit (UNEP CAR/RCU), headquartered in Kingston, Jamaica, and other specialized agencies in the Region, to build national capacity in areas such as:

Parties to the LBS Protocol

As of October 2010, the nine countries that have ratified the LBS Protocol include:

  1. Antigua and Barbuda
  2. Bahamas
  3. Belize
  4. France
  5. Guyana
  6. Panama
  7. St. Lucia
  8. Trinidad and Tobago
  9. United States of America

With nine participating parties, the Protocol can now enter into force.

  • integrating watershed management,
  • improving recreational water quality monitoring
  • controling agricultural runoff,
  • identifying financial and technical support for wastewater management, and development of legislation and regulations on pollution prevention, reduction and control.

The LBS Protocol provides the framework for addressing pollution based on national and regional needs and priorities, focusing on addressing the sources of pollution and the development of best management practices to prevent, reduce and control pollution in the Wider Caribbean Region.

Protecting watersheds, coastal areas and marine resources are critical for countries of this region, where most of the Region’s inhabitants live in coastal areas. A significant proportion of marine pollution in the Region is estimated to originate from land-based sources and activities, placing the tourism and fishing sectors as well as its fragile coastal ecosystems at high risk. Countries in the Region depend heavily on tourism, agriculture, and fishing for their livelihoods.

The LBS Protocol will continue to serve as the regional instrument in the WCR for the implementation of UNEP’s Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities Exit EPA disclaimer and UNEP’s Regional Seas Programme. In addition to the Bahamas' announcement, Guyana announced its accession to the SPAW Protocol, which is in already in force, and the LBS Protocol; and Antigua & Barbuda announced its accession to the LBS Protocol.

Also at the October 2010 meeting, the Executive Director of the Cartagena Convention reported on the results of the 2008-2009 Workplan Exit EPA disclaimer. Major achievements included:

  • Ratification of the LBS Protocol by the Governments of France, Saint Lucia and Belize and the SPAW Protocol by Belize.
  • Improved knowledge of the state of the marine environment in the Wider Caribbean Region and identification of priority areas for further action;
  • Increased awareness and involvement by Member Countries in CEP activities;
  • Improved capacity of Regional Activity Centers (RACs) and national agencies;
  • Improved coordination and cooperation with regional and international agencies;
  • Improved Government contributions to the Caribbean Trust Fund; and
  • Mobilization of new sources of funding and technical assistance.

The Governments adopted the Workplan and Budget Exit EPA disclaimer for the UNEP Caribbean Regional Coordinating Unit (UNEP CAR/RCU) for the 2010-2011 Biennium. Programs and projects that will be managed under the 2010-2011 Workplan include:

  • Reducing pesticide run-off to the Caribbean Sea (REPCar), a project monitoring the environmental impact of pesticides in Colombia, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua.
  • Integrating watershed and coastal area management (IWCAM) in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Exit EPA disclaimer.  The overall objective of IWCAM is to strengthen the commitment and capacity of the participating countries to implement an integrated approach to the management of watersheds and coastal areas. The long-term goal is to enhance the capacity of the countries to plan and manage their aquatic resources and ecosystems on a sustainable basis. In particular, project activities will be focusing on improvements in integrated freshwater basin-coastal area management on each island of the regional groupings of Caribbean SIDS, including Antigua & Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, and Trinidad & Tobago
  • A new project, approved in the 2010-11 Workplan, will include testing a prototype Caribbean Regional Fund for Wastewater Management (CReW) Exit EPA disclaimer, a new partnership activity between UNEP CAR/RCU, the Inter American Development Bank (IADB) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF). CReW will serve as a pilot project to demonstrate the viability in the region of an innovative fund approach to developing and financing wastewater projects, and engendering relevant policy reforms.
  • EPA has played a leadership role in the “Assessment of Pollutant Loads and Sources in the Wider Caribbean” project, which implements capacity building projects to harmonize data collection and reporting criteria across the region. The goal is to have current and up-to-date information on the State of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean. EPA contributed to the development of a template for data collection which was adopted at the meeting, and will be further refined based on efforts to harmonize data collection and reporting.
  • EPA is also engaged in other initiatives, such as National Action Plans, which will be developed on wastewater and waste management, climate change, and disaster risk reduction.

 

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Contacts

For additional information on EPA's marine programs, contact:

Patrick Cotter
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of International and Tribal Affairs (2660R)
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20460
E-mail: cotter.patrick@epa.gov
(202) 564-6600

For additional information on EPA's air-related engagements with the IMO, contact:

Brian Muehling
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of International and Tribal Affairs (2660R)
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20460
E-mail: muehling.brian@epa.gov
(202) 564-6600

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