Wider Caribbean




Cartagena Convention • Caribbean Regional Co-ordinating Unit
Convention: The Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Region (Cartagena Convention) was adopted 1983 and entered into force in 1986, is a Convention for achieving sustainable development of marine and coastal resources in the Wider Caribbean region through effective integrated management that allows for increased economic growth. The Convention covers the various aspects of marine pollution for which the Contracting Parties must adopt measures. Thus, the Convention requires the adoption of measures aimed at preventing, reducing and controlling pollution of the following areas: pollution from ships, pollution caused by dumping, pollution from seabed activities, airborne pollution, pollution from land-based sources and activities. In addition, the Parties are required to take appropriate measures to protect and preserve rare or fragile ecosystems, as well as the habitat of depleted, threatened or endangered species and to develop technical and other guidelines for the planning and environmental impact assessments of important development projects in order to prevent or reduce harmful impacts on the area of application. Protocols to the Convention include:
  • Protocol Concerning Co-operation in Combating Oil Spills in the Wider Caribbean Region (Oil Spills Protocol), adopted 1983 and in force in 1986.
  • Protocol Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife to the Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Region (SPAW Protocol), adopted 1990 and in force in 2000
  • 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 (LBS Protocol), adopted 1999.

he Regional Marine Pollution Emergency, Information and Training Centre in the Caribbean (REMPEITC-Carib) is located at Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles. As described by CAR/RCU, the "Assessment and Management of Environmental Pollution (AMEP) Sub-Programme of the Caribbean Environment Programme co-ordinates activities related to the Oil Spills Protocol in collaboration with REMPEITC-Carib), an IMO agency. REMPEITC-Carib has been established by IMO and UNEP in order to:

  • strengthen national and regional preparedness and response capacity of the Island States and territories of the Wider Caribbean Region and to foster and facilitate cooperation and mutual assistance in cases of emergency in order to prevent, control and combat major oil spill incidents;
  • strengthen the operational effectiveness of the implementation of the Cartagena Oil Spill Protocol and the Caribbean Islands OPRC (Oil Preparedness and Response Co-operation) plan and Convention through the provision of technical services.

CAR/RCU: The Caribbean Regional Co-ordinating Unit (CAR/RCU) located in Kingston, Jamaica, acts as Secretariat for the Convention and the CEP. The objectives of the Secretariat are to provide assistance to all countries of the region; strengthen national and subregional institutions; co-ordinate international assistance; and stimulate technical co-operation among countries.

Caribbean Environment Programme
The Caribbean Environment Programme (CEP) was established in 1983 under the UNEP Regional Seas Programme by the diverse states and territories of the Wider Caribbean to collectively address the protection and development in the coastal area. The CEP contains four sub-programmes:

See also the summary of the 1994 UNEP CEP Technical Report 33 on oil and litter in the Caribbean.

Caribbean Action Plan
The Caribbean Action Plan emerged as a result of many years of work by governmental and non-governmental representatives of the Caribbean community, assisted primarily by UNEP. The programme objectives embraced by the Caribbean Action Plan, which was adopted in 1981, include the following:
  • Assistance to all countries of the region, recognizing the special situation of the smaller islands;
  • Co-ordination of international assistance activities;
  • Strengthening existing national and subregional institutions;
  • Technical co-operation in the use of the region's human, financial and natural resources.
Agreement on Port State Control in Latin America
The Latin American Agreement on Port State Control of Vessels (Viña del Mar Agreement) was signed in 1992. It lays the foundation for closer cooperation among Maritime Authorities in the region. It aims at coordinating measures to inspect foreign vessels calling at regional ports. Actions taken comply with the provisions established in international treaties and conventions in force in the field of maritime safety, training and certification of crew members and prevention of pollution from vessels at sea and in rivers and lakes.

Organisation of East Caribbean States (OECS)
The mission of the Organisation of East Caribbean States (OECS) is to "be a major institutional player at the regional level, contributing to the sustainable development of our member countries by assisting them to maximise the benefits from their collective space, by facilitating their intelligent integration with the global economy; by contributing to policy and program formulation and execution in respect of regional and international issues, and by facilitation of bilateral and multilateral co-operation".

The OECS Waste Management Programme assists Member States to address the management of waste, with a particular focus on solid waste. Assistance is provided to Member States in waste characterization, and in the design and procurement of waste reduction, recycling, composting and disposal systems and technologies. These services are provided primarily with respect to municipal, ship-generated and biomedical wastes, but also for other wastes such as used oil.

Harmonized policies and legal frameworks have been developed for management of shore-generated wastes and for ship-generated wastes through the OECS Solid and Ship Generated Waste Management Project, funded by The World Bank and the Global Environmental Facility (GEF).

UNEP Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean (ROLAC)
UNEP Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean (ROLAC) seeks to further UNEP's global mandate of providing leadership in and promoting joint efforts for environmental care, and encouraging, informing and building the capacity of nations and peoples to improve their lives without endangering that of future generations.

ROLAC also serves as the Secretariat of the Forum of Environmental Ministers for Latin America and the Caribbean (Foro de Ministros de Medio Ambiente de América Latina y el Caribe).

UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)
The objective of the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) is to contribute to the economic development of Latin America, coordinate actions directed towards this end, and reinforce economic relationships among the countries and with the other nations of the world. ECLAC is also to promote the region's social development.

Scientists in the Office of Response and Restoration, of the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), "respond to dozens of spills of oil and other hazardous materials each year, help emergency planners prepare for potential accidents, create software, databases, and other tools to help people respond to hazardous materials accidents, work to find remedies for environmental damage caused by hazardous waste sites in coastal areas, assess injury to coastal resources from releases of oil, other hazardous materials, vessel groundings, and abandoned vessels, and pursue restoration from those responsible for the harm". ••• On this site, one finds much information on oil and oil spills (effects, responses), photos and links. ••• The mission of the NOAA Damage Assessment and Restoration Program is "to restore coastal and marine resources that have been injured by releases of oil or hazardous substances and to obtain compensation for the public's lost use and enjoyment of these resources". ••• The NOAA Aid for Oil Spill Responders site comprise tools and information for people dealing with spills of oil and petroleum products.

U.S. Coast Guard
The U.S. Coast Guard National Response Centre is the sole federal point of contact for reporting oil and chemical spills. The site offers much information on oil and oil spills. ••• See also the U.S. National Response Team

The purpose of the Oil Program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)is to prevent, prepare for, and respond to oil spills that occur in and around inland waters of the United States. The Oil Spill Learning Centre contains much information about oil and oil spills. ••• See also EPA Contingency Plans, including Oil Removal Contingency and Spill Prevention. ••• The EPA Gulf of Mexico Program is aimed at "facilitating the protection and restoration of the coastal marine water of the Gulf of Mexico and its coastal natural habitats; sustaining living resources; protecting human health and the food supply; ensuring the recreational use of Gulf shores, beaches and waters in ways consistent with the economic well-being of the region, through a network of citizens and institutions".

U.S. Offshore Minerals Management
The Offshore Minerals Management (MMS) is responsible for managing offshore public lands. As part of this MMS is providing the public with technical information about offshore activities. MMS collects data on all facets of the offshore program and publish them online in various forms. MMS regional offices provide information specific to the operations in the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska and offshore California. The California section of the MMS web site includes detailed information about each of the platforms.

Clean Caribbean Cooperative (CCC)
In 1977, nine oil companies operating in the Caribbean formed the Clean Caribbean Cooperative (CCC) with the objective of "enhancing the capability to promptly and efficiently respond to marine oil spills in the region". Since then the CCC Membership has grown to include most of the major international oil companies and oil related facilities in the Caribbean, Latin America and South America region. The CCC mission is develop and maintain immediately accessible oil spill response resources and support for Members through a ready equipment stockpile and a trained contractor network; and promote training, coordination and logistics planning with industry and governments in the Area of Interest.

Latin Petroleum Analytics (LAPA)
The Latin Petroleum Analytics (LAPA) - Information Centre for Latin America's Petroleum Industry - is an independent research firm providing insights into the Latin American petroleum industry. LAPA specializes in analyzing energy markets, specifically the upstream sector of the industry.

The Regional Association of Oil and Natural Gas Companies in Latin America and the Caribbean (ARPEL) is formed by more than t25 oil and natural gas companies, which represent over 90 per cent of the region's upstream and downstream sectors. ARPEL is "an interactive forum for exchange of ideas, experiences and knowledge; a forum designed for a timely identification of issues that may influence the industry's development." See also ARPEL Environmental Code of Conduct.

Acción de Lucha Anti-petrolera (ADELA)
Acción de Lucha Anti-petrolera (ADELA) is grassroots coalition formed by local people and environmental groups in Costa Rica "to protect the fragile coastal environment, wildlife and human communities from the impacts of oil exploration and extraction" (presentation and further links on the web site of International Fund for Animal Welfare).

Caribbean Conservation Association (CCA)
The Caribbean Conservation Association (CCA) "exists to enhance the quality of life for present and future generations of the Caribbean by facilitating the development and implementation of policies, programmes and practices, which contribute to the sustainable management of the region's natural and cultural resources. We do this through a membership that covers the wider Caribbean amongst non-governmental organisations, within government structures and by individuals interested in voicing civil society's concern for the state of the environment in the Caribbean region." National links are provided to member organizations in Anguilla, Antigua, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Br. Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Curaçao, Dominica, Gudadelope, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts/Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, the U.S. and U.S. Virgin Islands.

Ocean Conservancy
The Ocean Conservancy is the largest and oldest organization in the U.S. dedicated solely to protecting the oceans. "Science-based advocacy, grassroots activism, litigation, education and outreach are combined to find lasting solutions to issues affecting our oceans and all marine life". The Ocean Conservancy opposes legislation that provides incentives or encourages offshore oil and gas exploration and development.

Refinery Reform Campaign
The Refinery Reform Campaign is a national (U.S.) campaign seeking to clean up America's oil refineries and reduce the dependence on fossil fuels. Its web site is produced by the Texas SEED Coalition, a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing pollution and promoting clean energy.