|Schumacher, M.E. and P. Hoagland, The protocol concerning pollution from land-based sources and activities in the wider Caribbean region: a breakthrough for the Caribbean, but how closely should others follow their lead? , In E.M. Borgese, A. Chircop, and M. McConnell, eds., Ocean Yearbook 16. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp. 496-532., 2002|
On October 6, 1999, the Parties to the Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Region (Cartagena Convention) adopted the Protocol Concerning Pollution from Land-Based Sources and Activities (LBS Protocol). Some twelve years had elapsed since the Parties first formally resolved to negotiate a protocol to address land-based marine pollution (LBMP), and the LBS Protocol was the first multilateral agreement on the subject to be adopted in nine years. Of special significance, the LBS Protocol is also the first binding agreement to incorporate the guiding principles and recommended approaches of the crowning soft law instrument on LBMP, the 1995 Global Programme of Action for Protection of the Marine Environment Against Land-Based Activities (GPA). We address here two main questions of importance to the wider Caribbean and to future efforts to control LBMP in other regions. How have developments in international law over the past decade influenced the LBS Protocol, from the standpoint of the needs and priorities of WCR States and the health of the Caribbean marine environment? And does the LBS Protocol encourage a renewed commitment to the hardening of soft law by providing a useful model for other regions to follow? We provide an overview of the LBMP problem and evolving approaches to its control, and we describe the Caribbean marine environment, patterns of human settlement and economic activity in the region, and the nature and extent of resulting marine pollution. We review the protocol?s evolution from a document that was scarcely distinguishable from earlier regional agreements to one that truly reflects the priorities of WCR States by addressing the region?s two most pervasive LBMP problems: sewage and agricultural run-off. We arrive at some preliminary conclusions that are encouraging for the Caribbean but are mostly cautionary for other regions and for the further development of binding international law.