Message to the Senate Transmitting the Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Region

January 27, 1984

To the Senate of the United States:

I transmit herewith, for the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification, the Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Region. The Department of the State has prepared a report with respect to the Convention which is attached. I also transmit to the Senate, for its information, the Protocol to the Convention Concerning Cooperation in Combating Oil Spills in the Wider Caribbean Region and the Final Act of the Cartagena Conference which adopted the Convention and Protocol.

The Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Region will create general legal obligations to protect the marine environment of the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico and areas of the Atlantic Ocean immediately adjacent thereto. It covers a variety of forms of marine pollution including pollution from ships, pollution by dumping, pollution from land-based sources, pollution from seabed activities, and airborne pollution. It includes provisions on specially protected areas, cooperation in emergency situations, and environmental impact assessment. The Convention also contains an annex outlining non-compulsory procedures for the peaceful settlement of disputes arising under the Convention.

The Convention, which was concluded within the framework of the United Nations Environment Program's Regional Seas Program, is intended to be supplemented, where necessary, by the development of specific protocols to it, such as the Protocol Concerning Cooperation in Combating Oil Spills in the Wide Caribbean Region (which extends to other hazardous substances as well), providing for more concrete obligations. In areas where there are existing international agreements, such as on marine pollution from ships and by dumping, the Convention provides for the application of the relevant international rules and standards developed under those agreements.

The entry into force of the Convention, augmented by its Protocol, will be an important step in creating, in the region, marine pollution standards which are generally higher, more uniform, consistent in character, and closer to our own than presently exist. Consequently, the Convention and its Protocol will provide new protection for United States territory, the Gulf States, as well as the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

The United States played a leading role in the negotiation of the Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Region. Expeditious United States ratification of the Convention would demonstrate our concern for the protection of the marine environment of the Caribbean region and our commitment to the region as a whole. It is my hope that the United States will also play a leading role in the effective implementation of the Convention, which we expect to enter into force in a short period of time. To this end, it is important that the United States be represented at the first meeting of the Contracting Parties, which will be held no later than two years after entry into force of the Convention, following the deposit of the ninth instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval, or accession.

I recommend that the Senate give early and favorable consideration to the Convention and give its advice and consent to ratification.

Ronald Reagan

The White House,

January 27, 1984.