Regional Government pollution experts meet in panama



Panama City, 24th May, 2010:  

Over 50 pollution control experts from 27 countries of the Wider Caribbean gather today (Monday 24th May) in Panama City at the invitation of the United Nations Environment Programme’s Caribbean Environment Programme (UNEP CEP) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO).  

The gathering of experts for the 5th Meeting of the Interim Scientific, Technical and Advisory Committee (ISTAC) to the Protocol concerning Pollution from land-based sources, commonly known as the LBS Protocol will last for five days.  The CEP is the Secretariat for this Protocol and is based in Kingston, Jamaica.   

The LBS Protocol is one of three agreements under the Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment (the Cartagena Convention).  It establishes regional guidelines and standards for reducing the impact of pollution on the coastal and marine environment, and on human health.  Over 80% of the pollution of the marine environment of the Wider Caribbean is estimated to originate from land based sources and activities. 

Panama, the host country, is one of only six countries to have ratified the LBS Protocol. The others are Trinidad and Tobago, Belize, Saint Lucia, France and the US.  Discussions during the meeting will focus on measures to increase the region’s commitment to ratify the Protocol, and have it enter into force and become international law as soon as possible.   

In support of regional cooperation, UNEP CEP is partnering with the IMO and their joint Regional Activity Centre for Oil Spills (RAC REMPEITC) to bring together experts from environmental agencies, maritime authorities and port administrations for this 5th LBS ISTAC.   

Delegates are expected to identify practical measures to improve the implementation of marine environmental agreements including the IMO London Convention on the control of pollution from dumping of wastes at sea and the MARPOL Convention on the prevention of pollution of the marine environment by ships.


According to Nelson Andrade, Coordinator’s of UNEP CEP, “it is vital that Governments adopt a more integrated approach to reducing pollution from land and marine based sources”.  He noted that the continued partnership between UNEP and IMO will help to effectively implement the Cartagena Convention and its three Protocols and to reduce marine contamination.     

Meeting Participants are also expected to review recent achievements of the UNEP CEP to reduce and control marine pollution and to endorse a new work plan and budget for 2010-2011. 

For additional information, please contact: 

Christopher Corbin

Programme Officer

Assessment and Management of Environment Pollution (AMEP)

Regional Co-ordinating Unit

Caribbean Environment Programme

United Nations Environment Programme

14-20 Port Royal Street

Kingston, Jamaica

Telephone: (876) 922-9267 -- Fax: (876) 922-9292

About UNEP’s Caribbean Environment Programme (CEP) 

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) established the Caribbean Environment Programme (CEP) in 1976 under the framework of its Regional Seas Programme.  It was based on the importance and value of the Wider Caribbean Region’s fragile and vulnerable coastal and marine ecosystems including an abundant and mainly endemic flora and fauna, 

A Caribbean Action Plan was adopted by the Caribbean Countries and led to the adoption, in 1983, of the only current regional, legally-binding agreement for the protection of the marine environment, the Cartagena Convention.  The Convention and its first Protocol (Oil Spill) entered into force in 1986.  Two other protocols were developed by the region - the Protocols on Special Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW) and the Control of Pollution from Land Based Sources (LBS) in 1990 and 1999 respectively.   

The SPAW Protocol entered into force in 2000, whereas three ratifying countries are still needed for the LBS Protocol. 

The Caribbean Regional Coordinating Unit (UNEP-CAR/RCU) serves as the Secretariat to the Cartagena Convention and is based in Kingston, Jamaica.   

Each Protocol is served by a Regional Activity Centre.  These Centres are based in the Netherlands Antilles (Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Information and Training Center for the Wider Caribbean, RAC/REMPEITC) for the Oil Spills Protocol, Guadeloupe (RAC/SPAW) for the SPAW Protocol, Cuba (Centre of Engineering and Environmental Management of Coasts and Bays) and Trinidad & Tobago (Institute of Marine Affairs) for the LBS Protocol.

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