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Mindful of the need to protect and preserve the marine and coastal environment of the Northeast Pacific against all kinds and sources of environmental pollution and degradation.

Convinced of the ecological, economic, social and cultural value of the Northeast Pacific as a means of bonding between the countries of the region,

Considering the need to establish a regional cooperation framework to support and complement the coastal States of the Northeast Pacific in the effective implementation of the various international instruments relating to marine pollution and other forms of environmental degradation,

Mindful that, in conformity with the provisions of chapter 17 of Agenda 21 of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, the conservation and sustainable use of the marine and coastal environment and its natural resources in the Northeast Pacific is a joint responsibility of both national and municipal authorities and of civil society in its various organized manifestations,

Recognizing that the financial and human resources to implement the measures set out in this Convention will come, inter alia, from the public and private sectors, and that it is important to ensure the participation of the latter as associates,

Recognizing also the importance of international and non-governmental bodies responsible for facilitating funding giving priority in their general policies to the activities and projects aimed at implementing the Convention,

Recognizing further the benefits of cooperation at a regional level, directly or with the assistance of the competent international organizations and the rest of the international community, for the protection and preservation of the marine environment and the coastal areas mentioned,

Mindful that they share various ecosystems and resources of the marine environment in the Northeast Pacific,

Have agreed as follows:

Purpose

The principal purpose of the Convention is to establish a regional cooperation framework to encourage and facilitate the sustainable development of marine and coastal resources of the countries of the Northeast Pacific for the benefit of present and future generations of the region.

Scope of application of this Convention

1. The scope of application of this Convention comprises the maritime areas of the Northeast Pacific, defined in conformity with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

2. No provision of this Convention or its protocols shall be considered as affecting the rights, present or future claims or legal opinions of any Contracting Party relating to the boundaries of its maritime areas or maritime jurisdiction. No Party shall be entitled to call upon the norms and conduct agreed as generating rights or precedents.

Definitions

1. For the purposes of this Convention:

(a) "Sustainable development" means the process of progressive change in the quality of life of human beings, which places it as the centre and primordial subject of development, by means of economic growth with social equity and the transformation of methods of production and consumption patterns, and which is sustained in the ecological balance and vital support of the region. This process implies respect for regional, national and local ethnic and cultural diversity, and the full participation of people in peaceful coexistence and in harmony with nature, without prejudice to and ensuring the quality of life of future generations;

(b) "Economic assessment" means the assignment of monetary value to environmental goods and services for which no market values exist, so that their value may be explicitly reflected in every decision-making process based on monetary benefits and costs;

(c) "Environmental services," means the services provided by the functions of nature itself (for example, the protection of soil by trees, the natural filtration and purification of water, the protection of habitat for biodiversity, etc.);

(d) "Pollution of the marine environment" means the introduction by man, directly or indirectly, of substances or of energy into the marine environment (including estuaries and wetlands) which cause or may give rise to harmful effects such as damage to living resources or marine life, risks to human health, obstacles to maritime activities including fisheries and other legitimate uses of the sea, deterioration of sea water quality for their use, and impairment of leisure and aquaculture areas;

(e) "Other forms of environmental deterioration" means activities of man-made origin that may alter the quality of the marine environment and its resources and affect them in such a way as to reduce their natural recovery and regeneration capacity, such as erosion, the introduction of exotic species, protection capacity against natural phenomena, etc.;

(f) The term "discharges" refers to the pollution of the marine and coastal environment deriving from spills, disposal or dumping of wastes and hazardous substances from ships, aircraft, the atmosphere or land-based sources of pollution;

(g) "Dumping" means the deliberate discharge of substances or other materials into the sea or from ships or aircraft;

(h) "Monitoring" means the periodic measurement of environmental quality indicators;

(i) "National authority" means the authority designated by each Contracting Party in accordance with article 9, paragraph 2, and article 11, paragraph 1, subparagraphs (a), (b) and (d) of this Convention;

(j) "Executive Secretariat" means the body indicated in article 14 of this Convention.

General provisions

The provisions of this Convention shall not affect the rights and obligations that the Contracting Parties may have assumed pursuant to special Conventions and accords that they may have concluded in respect of the protection of the marine and coastal environment of the region.

General obligations

1. The Contracting Parties shall, unilaterally, bilaterally or multilaterally, adopt appropriate measures pursuant to the provisions of this Convention, to prevent, reduce, control and avoid pollution of the marine and coastal environment of the Northeast Pacific, as well as other forms of deterioration that may affect these, and ensure sustainable environmental management of the marine and coastal areas and an effective development of their natural resources.

2. The Contracting Parties shall collaborate in the drafting, adoption and implementation of other protocols and Conventions that may establish effective rules, norms, practices and procedures for the implementation of this Convention.

3. Each Contracting Party shall adopt and bring into force the necessary legislative and administrative measures to make this Convention and its protocols effective.

4. The Contracting Parties shall collaborate as necessary at a regional level, directly or in cooperation with competent international organizations, in the drafting, adoption and implementation of rules, norms, practices and procedures for the effective protection and development of the marine and coastal environment of the Northeast Pacific against all types and sources of pollution, and for the sound planning and development of that environment and those areas and their appropriate environmental management, taking into account the special characteristics of the region. Such rules, norms, practices and procedures shall be communicated to the Executive Secretariat of the Convention.

5. The Contracting Parties shall adopt all necessary measures so that activities under their jurisdiction or control shall be carried out in such a way as not to cause detriment through pollution or other forms of environmental deterioration to other Parties or their environment, and so that pollution caused by accidents or activities under their jurisdiction or control may not, as far as possible, extend beyond the areas over which the Contracting Parties exercise sovereignty and jurisdiction. In cases where it is foreseen that such transboundary effect may cause harm, other interested Parties should be informed and consulted in the course of planning the activity.

6. In order to protect the environment and contribute to the sustainable management, protection and conservation of the marine environment of the region, the Contracting Parties shall:

(a) Apply, in accordance with their capacity, the precautionary principle, by virtue of which, when confronted with serious or irreversible threats to the environment, the absence of complete scientific certainty should not serve as a pretext for delaying the adoption of effective measures to prevent environmental degradation, because of the costs involved;

(b) Promote the application of the "polluter pays" principle, by virtue of which those responsible for pollution should pay the full costs of measures to prevent, control, reduce and remedy such pollution, with due regard for the public interest;

(c) Encourage cooperation between States with respect to environmental impact procedures related to activities under their jurisdiction or control that may have adverse effects on the marine environment of other States or in areas outside the boundaries of their national jurisdiction, by means of notifications, exchange of information and consultations;

(d) Encourage the integrated development and management of coastal areas and shared water basins, taking into account the protection of areas of ecological and scenic interest and the sustainable use of natural resources;

(e) Promote the participation of local authorities and civil society in the processes of adopting decisions that affect the marine environment or their livelihood;

(f) Make available to civil society and local authorities information on the status of the marine environment of the region, on the measures adopted or about to be adopted to prevent, control, reduce and remedy adverse effects and the effectiveness of such measures;

(g) Exchange, through the competent authorities, the available data and information on the management of the use of the marine and coastal environment and on the implementation of this Convention.

Measures to prevent, reduce, control and remedy pollution and other forms of deterioration of the marine and coastal environment

1. The Contracting Parties shall adopt measures to prevent, reduce, control and remedy pollution and other forms of deterioration of the marine and coastal environment, including:

(a) Discharge of toxic, injurious or harmful substances into the sea and coastal areas, especially those that are persistent, originating from sources or activities including:

(i) Land-based sources;

(ii) Atmospheric, including those effected through the atmosphere, and

(iii) Dumping;

(b) Pollution caused by ships and any other arrangement or installation that operates in the marine environment; in particular, measures to avoid discharges, accidental or not, addressing emergencies in accordance with generally accepted international standards;

(c) Biophysical modifications, including alteration and destruction of habitats.

2. Without prejudice to the foregoing, the Contracting Parties shall adopt measures aimed at:

(a) The planning and environmental management of uses and activities in marine and coastal areas;

(b) Improvement as necessary of the environmental impact assessment of installations and activities that it is thought may affect marine and coastal areas;

(c) The identification of areas to be protected and the rehabilitation of degraded habitats and ecosystems;

(d) The identification and protection of endangered species of flora and fauna, and those that may possibly require protection measures;

(e) The application of prevention and precaution criteria to the uses and development of activities that may affect the marine and coastal resources of the region;

(f) The identification of marine coastal areas that are vulnerable to the action of extreme natural phenomena or events and a rise in sea level;

(g) The identification of marine coastal areas vulnerable to man-made activities.

Erosion of coastal areas

The Contracting Parties shall adopt all appropriate measures to prevent, reduce, control and remedy erosion in coastal areas resulting from man-made activities and reduce the vulnerability of coasts to a rise in sea level and to sea-air and climatic interaction phenomena.

Cooperation in cases of pollution and other forms of environmental deterioration resulting from emergency situations

1. The Contracting Parties shall cooperate, bilaterally, regionally or multilaterally in the prevention, containment, mitigation and restoration of damage resulting from:

(a) Pollution and/or environmental deterioration resulting from accidents;

(b) Pollution and/or environmental deterioration resulting from natural disasters, and

(c) Pollution and/or environmental deterioration resulting from deliberate man-made activities.

2. To this end, the Contracting Parties shall develop, individually or jointly, emergency and/or contingency plans, and shall adopt other measures where appropriate to respond to naturally caused or man-made disasters, including the probable effects of climate change and a rise in sea level.

3. The Contracting Parties shall provide the relevant timely information in cases of risk to coastal communities and infrastructure and of damage to the marine environment originating from pollution derived from man-made activities.

4. The Contracting Parties shall develop, individually or jointly, where appropriate, rehabilitation plans for fisheries that may require such, because of being affected by natural phenomena or pollution, and plans for the restoration of coastal habitats that may have suffered damage or been lost as a result of man-made activities or natural phenomena.

5. The Contracting Parties affected by pollution or other forms of deterioration of the environment resulting from emergency situations shall:

(a) Assess the nature, magnitude and scope of the emergency;

(b) Adopt appropriate measures to avoid or reduce the effects of pollution and other forms of environmental deterioration;

(c) Immediately provide information on the measures adopted or about to be adopted to combat pollution and other forms of environmental deterioration of the marine and coastal environment;

(d) Continue to observe the emergency situation while it lasts, and any changes thereto, and, in general, the changes in the pollution or other forms of environmental deterioration of the marine and coastal environment that may provoke emergency situations;

(e) Communicate to the other Contracting Parties and the Executive Secretariat of the Convention the information obtained as a result of those observations; and

(f) Initiate, once the emergency is over, a review of the effectiveness of the operation of the response mechanism to the crisis situation, as appropriate.

6. The Contracting Parties that may require assistance in combating, controlling, mitigating, diagnosing and forecasting the pollution and other forms of environmental deterioration resulting from emergency situations may request, directly or through the Executive Secretariat, in cooperation with the other Contracting Parties, especially those that may be affected by the pollution and other forms of environmental deterioration.

7. Such cooperation may include assessment by experts and the provision of equipment and materials to combat pollution and other forms of environmental deterioration.

8. The Contracting Parties from whom assistance may have been requested shall consider that request as soon as possible, and, in the light of their capabilities, immediately inform the requesting Contracting Party of the form, scope and conditions of the cooperation they might provide.

Monitoring of pollution and other forms of environmental deterioration

1. The Contracting Parties shall, directly or in collaboration with the relevant international bodies, establish and implement a regional monitoring programme for pollution in the marine and coastal environment of the Northeast Pacific.

2. To this end, the Contracting Parties shall designate the authorities responsible for the monitoring of pollution and other forms of environmental deterioration in their respective areas of sovereignty and jurisdiction, in conformity with international law.

3. In particular, when transboundary areas are involved, the Contracting Parties shall participate in bilateral and multisectoral projects and missions to assess marine pollution and other forms of environmental deterioration, in conformity with international law.

Integrated management and sustainable development of the marine and coastal environment

1. As part of the implementation of their policies and strategies for integrated management and sustainable development of the marine and coastal environment, the Contracting Parties shall incorporate into their economic development projects in marine and coastal areas those environmental criteria that provide sustainability in the use of resources and in the maintenance of the integrity of ecosystems.

2. Also as part of these policies, the Contracting Parties shall strive to implement integrated management and bring about sustainable development of the marine and coastal environment. To this end, the Contracting Parties shall endeavour to:

(a) Formulate and implement plans and programmes at appropriate levels for the integrated management and sustainable development of the marine and coastal environment;

(b) Use environmental assessment and systematic observation as preventative and precautionary measures in the planning and implementation of projects;

(c) Encourage the preparation and use of methods of economic assessment of ecosystems and of marine and coastal ecosystems and of environmental goods and services at a national level;

(d) Integrate into a national plan and/or programme of integrated management and sustainable development sectoral plans in relation to coastal human settlements, aquaculture, industry, tourism, fisheries and ports that use or affect the coastal area;

(e) Adopt the use of an ecosystem approach in fisheries management measures;

(f) Promote the use of the best available techniques, including cleaner technologies appropriate to the conditions of the region, taking socio-economic factors into account;

(g) Promote the education, sensitization and participation of civil society and also the development of environmental information programmes regarding the marine and coastal environment;

(h) Establish protected coastal areas with the objective of maintaining biological integrity and diversity;

(i) Identify the habitats of living marine resources that contribute to the food security of coastal people and are of major socio-economic and ecological importance;

(j) Establish mechanisms, where appropriate, within their policies, plans and programmes for the integrated management of coastal areas, to review the problems arising from the assignation of uses and access to resources, from the coastal area, or from uses in which proper management is not observed.

3. The Contracting Parties shall endeavour to include an assessment of possible environmental effects when planning any activity that involves the implementation of projects inside their territory that may, especially in coastal areas, cause pollution in the area within the scope of this Convention or cause significant or harmful environmental alterations to it.

4. The Contracting Parties shall, in cooperation with the Executive Secretariat, work out methods for disseminating information on the assessment of the activities mentioned in the previous paragraph of this article.

5. The Contracting Parties shall adopt appropriate measures to protect and preserve rare or vulnerable ecosystems in the area within the scope of this Convention, as well as the habitats of species with low populations or that are threatened or endangered. To this end, the Contracting Parties shall endeavour to establish protected areas. The establishment of such areas shall not affect the rights of the other Contracting Parties or of third party States. In addition, the Contracting Parties shall exchange information regarding the administration and management of such areas.

Information exchange

1. The Contracting Parties commit themselves, subject to their respective national legislation, to exchange with each other and transmit to the Executive Secretariat information regarding:

(a) The organization or competent national authorities responsible for the monitoring and control of pollution and other forms of environmental deterioration of the marine and coastal environment;

(b) The competent national authorities responsible for receiving information on marine pollution and other forms of environmental deterioration of the marine and coastal environment, and those responsible for carrying out assistance programmes or adopting assistance measures for the benefit of the Contracting Parties;

(c) Programmes being developed for research into pollution and other forms of environmental deterioration, with the objective of creating new methods and techniques to avoid, reduce and/or eliminate pollution or the deterioration of the marine and coastal environment, together with the results of such programmes and research;

(d) The competent national authorities responsible for planning the uses of marine and coastal areas.

2. The Contracting Parties shall coordinate the use of the available communication media so as to ensure the opportune reception, transmission and diffusion of the information that needs to be exchanged.

Scientific and technological information

1. The Contracting Parties shall cooperate among themselves or through the Executive Secretariat or another competent international organization, where appropriate, in the fields of science and technology related to the marine and coastal environment, and shall exchange data and other scientific information relevant to the purposes of this Convention. To this end, the Contracting Parties shall, among themselves or through the Executive Secretariat or another competent international organization, undertake the following activities:

(a) Encouraging scientific, technological and educational assistance programmes, and those of any other kind, for the protection and sustainable development of marine and coastal areas, and for the prevention, reduction and control of pollution and other forms of environmental deterioration in such areas. This assistance shall comprise, inter alia:

(i) The training of scientific and technical staff;

(ii) Participation in relevant international programmes;

(iii) Capacity-building of the Contracting Parties to train teams and adopt those techniques and methods;

(iv) The supply of equipment and installations for research, monitoring and educational and other programmes;

(b) Extending the appropriate assistance to reduce to a minimum the effects of incidents or accidents that may cause pollution and other forms of environmental deterioration in the marine and coastal environment;

(c) Extending the assistance needed for the preparation of programmes related to environmental assessment; and,

(d) Cooperating in the preparation of appropriate assistance programmes for environmental management, including monitoring and supervision of the marine and coastal environment.

2. The Contracting Parties, where appropriate, shall encourage and coordinate their national research programmes on all kinds and sources of marine and coastal pollution and other forms of environmental deterioration that exist within the geographical scope of application of this Convention, and shall cooperate in the establishment of regional research programmes and in the supervision and monitoring of marine and coastal area pollution and other forms of environmental deterioration in those areas.

Liability and compensation

The Contracting Parties shall endeavour to adopt a protocol in respect of liability and compensation for damage resulting from pollution in the area of application of the Convention.

Institutional provisions

For the purposes of the administration and implementation of this Convention, the Contracting Parties shall designate the organization responsible for carrying out the functions of the Executive Secretariat of the Convention. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) shall carry out such functions until such designation is formalized. In the meeting held for that purpose, the geographical seat of the Executive Secretariat shall be designated, as well as the procedure and funding for the execution of that function.

Meetings of the Contracting Parties

1. The Contracting Parties shall hold ordinary and extraordinary meetings.

2. The first meeting of the Contracting Parties shall be convened by the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme not later than one year after the entry into force of this Convention.

3. Ordinary meetings shall be held every two years, in conjunction with the Intergovernmental Meeting (General Authority) of the Action Plan for the Protection and Sustainable Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the Northeast Pacific. The Executive Secretariat shall convene such meetings sixty (60) days before the date of the meeting.

4. Extraordinary meetings shall be convened by the Executive Secretariat at the request of any Contracting Party, provided that within six months of such a request being communicated to the Contracting Parties, it is supported by at least one third of them. The Executive Secretariat may also request the convening of extraordinary meetings, conditional on receiving the unanimous agreement of the Contracting Parties.

5. In their first meeting, the Contracting Parties shall adopt the rules of procedure for meetings of the Contracting Parties to the Convention.

(a) Decisions of the Contracting Parties shall be adopted by consensus, except in cases where the rules of procedure for meetings of Contracting Parties establish voting as the form of adopting decisions.

6. The meetings of the Contracting Parties shall have the function of keeping under continuous review the implementation of this Convention and its protocols, and in particular:

(a) The extent to which the Contracting Parties implement the provisions of the Convention, the effectiveness of the measures adopted and the need to undertake any additional action that may be required for the achievement of the purposes of this Convention and its protocols, including their institutional and financial aspects;

(b) To assess periodically the status of the environment in the area of application of the Convention;

(c) To revise and amend this Convention;

(d) To consider, adopt, revise and amend the protocols and their annexes;

(e) To establish such working groups as are deemed necessary to review any question related to this Convention, its protocols and annexes;

(f) The undertaking of any other function that may contribute to the achievement of the purposes of this Convention.

Approval and entry into force of protocols

1. The Contracting Parties may adopt by consensus, in a meeting of the Contracting Parties, additional protocols to this Convention, pursuant to paragraph 2 of article 5. Such protocols shall enter into force once the Depositary has received the fourth instrument of ratification or accession.

2. Subsequently, protocols shall enter into force in respect of any of the States or regional integration organizations at the moment when they deposit their respective instruments of ratification or accession with the Depositary.

Amendments of the Convention or its protocols

1. Any Contracting Party may propose amendments to this Convention or its protocols. Such amendments shall be adopted at a meeting of the Contracting Parties convened by the Executive Secretariat at the request of a Contracting Party.

2. Amendments to this Convention and its protocols shall be adopted by consensus of the Contracting Parties.

3. Amendments shall be subject to ratification or accession and shall enter into force in the form established for the Convention and its protocols respectively to enter into force.

Special exercise of the right to vote by economic integration organizations

In areas of their competence, economic integration organizations that have acceded to this Convention and its protocols shall exercise their right to vote with a number of votes equal to the number of its member States absent, with prior consent of the Contracting Parties to this Convention and its corresponding protocols. Such organizations shall not exercise their right to vote if it is exercised by their member States.

Reports

The Contracting Parties shall transmit reports to the Executive Secretariat about the measures adopted for the implementation of this Convention and its additional protocols, in the form and with the frequency determined in its meetings. The Executive Secretariat shall circulate these reports to the Contracting Parties.

Relationship between the Convention and its protocols

1. No State or economic integration organization may be a Contracting Party to a protocol that may be established in the future unless it is, or at the same time becomes a Contracting Party to this Convention.

2. Protocols to this Convention shall be obligatory only for the Contracting Parties to the protocol in question.

3. Decisions relating to any protocol pursuant to articles 15 and 17 of this Convention may only be adopted by the Contracting Parties to the protocol in question.

Signature

This Convention shall be open for signature in the city of Antigua Guatemala on February 18th, 2002 and in Guatemala City from February 19th, 2002 to February 18th, 2003 for States invited to participate in the Conference of Plenipotentiaries for the Adoption of the Convention for Cooperation in the Protection and Sustainable Development of the Marine and Coastal Areas of the Northeast Pacific and its respective Action Plan.

Ratification, acceptance and approval

1. This Convention shall be subject to ratification, acceptance or approval by the signatory States. Instruments of ratification, acceptance or approval shall be deposited with the Depositary.

2. This Convention shall be subject to compliance with the internal procedures of each Contracting Party.

Accession

1. This Convention shall be open for accession by any State from the date on which the Convention is closed for signature, and once the Convention enters into force, it shall be open for accession by the economic integration organizations that have been invited to form part of this Convention. The instruments of accession shall be deposited with the Depositary, who shall inform the Contracting Parties thereof.

2. In their instruments of accession, the organizations referred to in paragraph 1 above shall declare the extent of their competence with respect to the matters governed by the Convention. These organizations shall also inform the Depositary of any substantial modification in the extent of their competence.

Reservations

Reservations to this Convention shall only be allowed in respect of matters concerning the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Contracting Parties and interpretative statements to the Convention.

Settlement of disputes

In the event of a dispute between Contracting Parties concerning the interpretation or application of this Convention, the Contracting Parties concerned shall seek solution by negotiation or any other mechanism for the peaceful settlement of disputes established by international law.

Entry into force

This Convention shall enter into force sixty (60) days after the date of deposit of the fourth instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession with the Depositary. Subsequently, this Convention shall enter into force with respect to States or regional integration organizations at the moment when they deposit their respective instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession with the Depositary.

Withdrawal

1. At any time after two years from the date on which this Convention has entered into force for a Contracting Party, that Party may withdraw from the Convention.

2. Such withdrawal shall be made by giving written notification to the Executive Secretariat, which shall immediately inform the Contracting Parties thereof.

3. Any such withdrawal shall take effect six (6) months after the date of notification of the Depositary.

Depositary

1. The Depositary of this Convention and its protocols shall be the Government of the Republic of Guatemala.

2. The Depositary shall inform the signatories and the Contracting Parties, as well as the Secretariat, of the signature of this Convention and its protocols and the deposit of instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval and accession; the date on which the Convention or a protocol enters into force for each Contracting Party; notification of any withdrawal and the date on which it becomes effective; amendments to the Convention or any protocol, their acceptance by the Contracting Parties and their date of entry into force; all matters relating to new annexes and changes to any annex; notifications by regional economic organizations of the extent of their competence with respect to matters governed by this Convention and relevant protocols, and any modification thereof.

3. The original of this Convention shall be deposited with the Depositary, who shall send certified copies of it to the signatories and the Secretariat.

4. As soon as the Convention and its protocols enter into force, the Depositary shall forward a certified copy of the relevant instrument to the Secretary-General of the United Nations for registration and publication, pursuant to article 102 of the United Nations Charter, and to the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF the Plenipotentiaries duly authorized to that effect by their respective governments, have signed this Convention drawn up in one single original in Spanish and English, both texts of which are equally authentic.

Done at the city of Antigua Guatemala, Repubic of Guatemala, on the eighteenth day of February two thousand and two.

  • Last updated: 23 Jul 2013
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