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Environmental Treaties and Resource Indicators (ENTRI) -- Full Text

Summary of the "Protocol Concerning Cooperation in Combating Pollution Emergencies in the South Pacific Region" is available from the UNEP Register of International Treaties and Other Agreements in the Field of the Environment.

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Noumea, 25 November 1986

The Parties to this Protocol,

Being Parties to the Convention for the Protection of the Natural 
Resources and Environment of the South Pacific Region adopted in 
Noumea, New Caledonia on the twenty-fourth day of November in the 
year one thousand nine hundred and eighty-six;

Conscious that the exploration, development and use of offshore 
and near shore minerals and the use of hazardous substances, as 
well as related vessel traffic, pose the threat of significant 
pollution emergencies in the South Pacific Region;

Aware that the islands of the region are particularly vulnerable 
to damage resulting from significant pollution due to the 
sensitivity of their ecosystems and their economic reliance on the 
continuous utilization of their coastal areas;

Recognizing that in the event of a pollution emergency or threat 
thereof, prompt and effective action should be taken initially at 
the national level to organise and co-ordinate prevention, 
mitigation and cleanup activities;

Recognizing further the importance of rational preparation and 
mutual co-operation and assistance in responding effectively to 
pollution emergencies or the threat thereof;

Determined to avert ecological damage to the marine environment 
and coastal areas of the South Pacific Region through the adoption 
of national contingency plans to be co-ordinated with appropriate 
bilateral and sub-regional contingency plans;

Have agreed as follows:

Article 1


For the purposes of this Protocol:

(a) "Convention" means the Convention for the Protection of the 
Natural Resources and Environment of the South Pacific Region 
adopted in Noumea, New Caledonia on twenty-fourth day of November 
in the year one thousand nine hundred and eighty-six;

(b) "South Pacific Region" means the Convention Area as defined in 
Article 2 of the Convention and adjacent coastal areas;

(c) "related interests" of a Party refer, inter alia, to:

(i) maritime, coastal, port, or estuarine activities;
(ii) fishing activities and the management and conservation of 
living and non-living marine resources, including coastal 
(iii) the cultural value of the area concerned and the exercise 
of traditional customary rights therein;
 (iv) the health of the coastal population; 
(v) tourist and recreational activities;

(d) "pollution incident" means a discharge or significant threat 
of a discharge of oil or other hazardous substance, however 
caused, resulting in pollution or an imminent threat of pollution 
to the marine and coastal environment or which adversely affects 
the related interests of one or more of the Parties and of a 
magnitude that requires emergency action or other immediate 
response for the purpose of minimizing its effects or eliminating 
its threat.

Article 2


This Protocol applies to pollution incidents in the South Pacific 

Article 3


1. The Parties to this Protocol shall, within their respective 
capabilities, co-operate in taking all necessary measures for the 
protection of the South Pacific Region from the threat and effects 
of pollution incidents.

2. The Parties shall, within their respective capabilities, 
establish and maintain, or ensure the establishment and 
maintenance of, the means of preventing and combating pollution 
incidents, and reducing the risk thereof. Such means shall include 
the enactment, as necessary, of relevant legislation, the 
preparation of contingency plans, the development or strengthening 
of the capability to respond to a pollution incident and the 
designation of a national authority responsible for the 
implementation of this Protocol.

Article 4


Each Party shall periodically exchange with other Parties, either 
directly or through the Organisation, current information relating 
to the implementation of this Protocol, including the 
identification of the officials charged with carrying out the 
activities covered by it, and information on its laws, 
regulations, institutions and operational procedures relating to 
the prevention and the means of reducing and combating the harmful 
effects of pollution incidents.

Article 5


1. Each Party shall establish appropriate procedures to ensure 
that information regarding pollution incidents is reported as 
rapidly as possible and shall, inter alia:

(a) require appropriate officials of its government to report to 
it the occurrence of any pollution incident which comes to their 

(b) require masters of vessels flying its flag and persons in 
charge of offshore facilities operating under its jurisdiction to 
report to it the existence of any pollution incident involving 
their vessel or facilities;

(c) establish procedures to encourage masters of vessels flying 
its flag or of its registry to report, to the extent practicable, 
the existence of any pollution incident involving their vessel to 
any coastal State in the South Pacific Region which they deem 
likely to be seriously affected;

(d) request masters of all vessels and pilots of all aircraft 
operating in the vicinity of its coasts to report to it any 
pollution incident of which they are aware.

2. In the event of receiving a report regarding a pollution 
incident, each Party shall promptly inform all other Parties whose 
interests are likely to be affected by such incident as well as 
the flag State of any vessel involved in it. Each Party shall also 
inform the Organisation and, directly or through the Organisation, 
the competent international organisations. Furthermore, it shall 
inform, as soon as feasible, such other Parties and organisations 
of any measures it has itself taken to minimize or reduce 
pollution or the threat thereof.

Article 6


1. Each Party requiring assistance to deal with a pollution 
incident may request, either directly or through the Organisation, 
the assistance of the other Parties. The Party requesting 
assistance shall specify the type of assistance it requires. The 
Parties whose assistance is requested under this article shall, 
within their capabilities, provide this assistance based on an 
agreement with the requesting Party or Parties and taking into 
account, in particular in the case of pollution by hazardous 
substances other than oil, the technological means available to 
them. If the Parties responding jointly within the framework of 
this article so request, the Organisation may co-ordinate the 
activities undertaken as a result.

2. Each Party shall facilitate the movement of technical 
personnel, equipment and material necessary for responding to a 
pollution incident, into, out of and through its territory.

Article 7


Each Party shall, within its capabilities, take steps including 
those outlined below in responding to a pollution incident:

(a) make a preliminary assessment of the incident,
including the type and extent of existing or likely pollution 

(b) promptly communicate information concerning the situation to 
other Parties and the Organisation pursuant to article 5;

(c) promptly determine its ability to take effective measures to 
respond to the pollution incident and the assistance that might be 
required and to communicate any request for such assistance to the 
Party or Parties concerned or the Organisation in accordance with 
article 6;

(d) consult, as appropriate, with other affected or concerned 
Parties or the Organisation in determining the necessary response 
to a pollution incident;

(e) carry out the necessary measures to prevent, eliminate or 
control the effects of the pollution incident, including 
surveillance and monitoring of the situation.

Article 8


1. The Parties should develop and maintain appropriate sub-
regional arrangements, bilateral or multilateral, in particular to 
facilitate the steps provided for in articles 6 and 7 and taking 
into account the general provisions of this Protocol.

2. The Parties to any arrangements shall notify the other Parties 
to this Protocol as well as the Organisation of the conclusion of 
such sub-regional arrangements and the provisions thereof.

Article 9 


The Parties designate the Organisation to carry out the following 

(a) assisting Parties, upon request, in the communication of 
reports of pollution incidents in accordance with article 5;

(b) assisting Parties, upon request, in the organisation of a 
response action to a pollution incident, in accordance with 
article 6;

(c) assisting Parties, upon request, in the following areas:

(i) the preparation, periodic review, and updating of the 
contingency plans, referred to in paragraph 2 of Article 3, with a 
view, inter alia, to promoting the compatibility of the plans of 
the Parties; and
(ii) the identification of training courses and programmes;

(d) assisting the Parties upon request, on a regional or sub-
regional basis, in the following areas:

(i) the co-ordination of emergency response activities; and
(ii) the provision of a forum for discussions concerning 
emergency response and other related topics;

(e) establishing and maintaining liaison with:

(i) appropriate regional and international organisations;  and
(ii) appropriate private organisations, including producers and 
transporters of substances which could give rise to a pollution 
incident in the South Pacific Region and clean-up contractors and 

(f) maintaining an appropriate current inventory of available 
emergency response equipment;

(g) disseminating information related to the prevention and 
control of pollution incidents and the removal of pollutants 
resulting therefrom;

(h) identifying or maintaining emergency response communications 

(i) encouraging research by the Parties, as well as by appropriate 
international and private organisations, on the environmental 
effects of pollution incidents, the environmental effects of 
pollution incident control materials and other matters related to 
pollution incidents;

(j) assisting Parties in the exchange of information pursuant to 
article 4; and

(k) preparing reports and carrying out other duties assigned to it 
by the Parties.

Article 10


1. Ordinary meetings of the Parties to this Protocol shall be held 
in conjunction with ordinary meetings of the Parties to the 
Convention, held pursuant to article 22 of the Convention. The 
Parties to this Protocol may also hold extraordinary meetings as 
provided for in article 22 of the Convention.

2. It shall be the function of the meetings of the Parties:

(a) to review the operation of this Protocol and to consider 
special technical arrangements and other measures to improve its 

(b) to consider any measures to improve cooperation under this 
Protocol including, in accordance with article 24 of the 
Convention, amendments to this Protocol.

Article 11


1. The provisions of the Convention relating to any Protocol shall 
apply with respect to the present Protocol.

2. The rules of procedure and the financial rules adopted pursuant 
to article 22 of the Convention shall apply with respect to this 
Protocol, unless the Parties to this Protocol agree otherwise.

In witness whereof the undersigned, being duly authorized by 
their respective Governments, have signed this Protocol.

Done at Noumea, New Caledonia on the twenty-fifth day of November 
in the year one thousand nine hundred and eighty-six, in a single 
copy in the English and French languages, the two texts being 
equally authentic.