The Protocol on Land-Based Sources of Marine Pollution
in a Nutshell

This page provides a brief summary of the LBS Protocol  and links to relevant documents.

After years of negotiations, the Contracting Parties to the Cartagena Convention have adopted a Protocol Concerning Pollution from Land-Based Sources and Activities in the Wider Caribbean Region!

In Oranjestad, Aruba, on 6 October 1999, 16 Contracting Parties to the Cartagena Convention signed the Final Act to adopt the LBS Protocol, culminating the work of more than decade to develop the technical basis and then negotiate the Protocol text and source-specific Annexes.

The Contracting Parties developed the Protocol through several technical meetings of experts and negotiations. At the Conference of Plenipotentiaries in Oranjestad, the Contracting Parties debated the Protocol and its Annexes for eight long days just prior to its adoption. In the end, the Protocol as adopted is perhaps the most significant of its kind with the inclusion of regional effluent limitations for domestic wastewater (sewage) and requiring specific plans to address agricultural non-point sources. Specific schedules for implementation have also been included in the Protocol. In addition, the LBS Protocol sets the stage for the development and adoption of future annexes to address other priority sources and activities of pollution.

The main text of the Protocol sets forward general obligations and a legal framework for regional co-operation. The operative Annexes however describe with greater specificity the work that each Contracting Party must comply with as well as to give direction to the development of regional actions. Annex I establishes a list of land-based sources and activities and their associated contaminants of greatest concern to the marine environment of the Wider Caribbean. Annex II outlines and establishes the process for developing regional standards and practices for the prevention, reduction, and control of the sources and activities identified in Annex I. Annex III establishes specific regional effluent limitations for domestic sewage and Annex IV requires each Contracting Party to develop plans, programmes and other measures for the prevention, reduction and control of agricultural non-point sources, respectively. The implementation of the Protocol and the development of future source-specific annexes will be determined by the Contracting Parties with assistance from a Scientific, Technical and Advisory Committee.

The Assessment and Management of Environmental Pollution (AMEP) sub-programme of the Caribbean Environment Programme is the focal point for co-ordinating CEP activities on marine pollution from land-based sources and activities, including the Protocol.

The Protocol is a regional mechanism that will assist the Nations and Territories of the WCR to meet the goals and obligations of two international agreements. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) calls upon States to adopt laws and regulations to prevent, reduce and control pollution of the marine environment from land-based sources. The Global Plan of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities (GPA), adopted in Washington D.C. in 1995, highlights the need for action to reduce the pollutant load to the seas from land-based sources and activities. Both of these instruments emphasize the need to act at the regional level to address this problem.


Status of the Protocol
When the LBS Protocol was opened for signature on 6 October 1999, following its adoption, four Contracting Parties signed the Protocol, indicating their intent to ratify. The Protocol is now open for signature in Bogotá, Colombia until 7 October 2000.

Related Documents

LBS Protocol
  • Hypertext version of the LBS Protocol
  • Current status of the LBS Protocol
    A Listing of the current Parties to the LBS Protocol
  • The Final Act of the Conference of Plenipotentiaries to Adopt the Protocol Concerning Pollution from Land-Based Sources and Activities to the Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Region
    Text of the Final Act of the meeting at which the LBS Protocol was adopted.
  • Background information on Environmental Issues related to Land-Based Sources of Marine Pollution is also available. This page provides an overview of issues discussed in CEP Technical Report #32, Guidelines for Sediment Control Practices in the Insular Caribbean, and CEP Technical Report #33, Regional Overview of Land-Based Sources of Pollution in the Wider Caribbean Region.
  • General background on AMEP activities, as the focal point for co-ordinating CEP activities on marine pollution from land-based sources and activities, is available through the AMEP page on the CEP Web site, including the AMEP Programme Updates page.
Protocols of the Cartagena Convention

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Last updated: 6 October, 19998

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