UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of Sea) Regulations and Environment
“The UNCLOS possesses extensive references to the protection of the environment. The UNCLOS recalls the importance to: “Promote the peaceful uses of the seas and oceans, the equitable and efficient utilization of their resources, the conservation of their living resources, and the study, protection and preservation of the marine environment”. (Nordqvist 1995, 1-400)
A complete part of the material is dedicated to the protection of the environment. Part XII reflects the main objectives of the UN in terms of environmental protection which occurred in parallel to the extensive negotiations to develop the UNCLOS. The most significant articles demonstrating the importance of the State responsibility in order to environment protection are presented below:
Article 192: General obligation
“States have the obligation to protect and preserve the marine environment”. (Nordqvist 1995, 1-400)
“Measures to prevent, reduce and control pollution of the marine environment.
States Shall take all measures necessary to ensure that activities under their jurisdiction or control are so conducted as not to cause damage by pollution to other States and their environment, and that pollution arising from incidents or activities under their jurisdiction or control does not spread beyond the areas where they exercise sovereign rights in accordance with this convention”. (Nordqvist 1995, 1-400.)
Article 195: “Duty not to transfer damage or hazards or transform one type of pollution into another. In taking measures to prevent, reduce and control pollution of the marine environment, States shall act so as not to transfer, directly or indirectly, damage or hazards from one area to another or transform one type of pollution into another”. (Nordqvist 1995, 1-400.)
Article 197:” Cooperation on a global or regional basis States shall cooperate on a global basis, an as appropriate, on a regional basis, directly or through competent international organizations, in formulating and elaborating international rules, standards and recommended practices and procedures consistent with this convention, for the protection and preservation of the marine environment, taking into account characteristic regional features”. (Nordqvist 1995, 1-400.)
Article 204: “Monitoring of the risks or effects of pollution
- States shall, consistent with the rights of other States, endeavour, as far as practicable, directly or through the competent international organizations, to observe, measure, evaluate and analyse, by recognized scientific methods, the risks or effects of pollution of the marine environment.
- In particular, States shall keep under surveillance the effects of any activities which they permit or in which they engage in order to determine whether these activities are likely to pollute the marine environment.” (Nordqvist 1995, 1-400)
Article 212: “Pollution from and through the atmosphere
- States shall adopt laws and regulations to prevent, reduce and control pollution of the marine environment from or through the atmosphere, applicable to the air space under their sovereignty and to the vessels flying their flag or vessels or aircraft of their registry, taking into account internationally agreed rules, standards and recommended practices and procedures and the safety of air navigation.
- States shall take other measures as may be necessary to prevent, reduce and control such pollution.
- States, acting especially through competent international organizations or diplomatic conference, shall endeavour to establish global and regional rules, standards and recommended practices and procedures to prevent, reduce and control such pollution”. (Nordqvist 1995, 1-400)
In addition, many articles deal with the enforcement by flag State (Article 217), Port State (Article 218) and Coastal State (Article 220).
- The States duties to protect the environment and responsibility not to harm others.
- The measures developed should not transfer the damage or risks.
- The global and regional cooperation are paramount in environmental protection.
- The risks and effects of pollution must be assessed scientifically.
- The air pollution is an established concern.
- Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement systems have to be developed to verify the compliance of the activities.
UNCLOS demonstrates the how important it is to protect the environment and to develop proper enforcement mechanisms which can be used through certification and inspection regimes” (Nordqvist 1995, 1-400).