IMO Conventions

The International Maritime Organisation has developed a number of global frameworks related to shipping safety, security and environment. The marine environment related instruments can be classed into the following categories:
  • Pollution Prevention which relates to (a) MARPOL Convention & Annexes I, II, III, IV, V, VI and the (b) London Dumping & London Protocol 96;
  • Pollution Response which relates to (a) OPRC Convention 90, (b) OPRC/HNS 2000, (c) CLC Convention 69 & CLC Protocol 76/92, (d) Fund Convention 71 & Fund Protocol 76/92/03, (e) Intervention Convention 69 & Intervention Protocol 73, (f) Bunkers Convention 2001, (g) HNS Protocol 2010, (h) HNS Convention 96 and (I) Facilitation Convention 65;
  • Ballast Water Management Convention 2004;
  • Anti-Fouling Systems Convention 2001;
  • Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships 2009 (Hong Kong Convention); and the
  • Nairobi Wreck Removal Convention 2007.
IMO Marine Environment Protection Conventions

Noumea Convention

The Convention for the Protection of Natural Resources and Environment of the South Pacific Region (the Noumea Convention) and its Protocols obliges Parties to endeavour to take all appropriate measures to prevent, reduce and control pollution from any source and to ensure sound environmental management and development of natural resources, using the best practicable means at their disposal and in accordance with their capabilities. Ten Pacific countries are Party to the Noumea Convention.

Noumea Convention

Rotterdam Convention

The Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade, (the Rotterdam Convention), is a multilateral treaty to promote shared responsibilities in relation to importation of hazardous chemicals. The convention promotes open exchange of information and calls on exporters of hazardous chemicals to use proper labelling, include directions on safe handling, and inform purchasers of any known restrictions or bans. Parties can decide whether to allow or ban the importation of chemicals listed in the treaty, and exporting countries are obliged make sure that producers within their jurisdiction comply. Six Pacific countries are parties to this convention.

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Stockholm Convention

The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from chemicals that remain intact in the environment for long periods, become widely distributed geographically, accumulate in the fatty tissue of humans and wildlife, and have adverse effects to human health or to the environment. Exposure to Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) can lead serious health effects including certain cancers, birth defects, dysfunctional immune and reproductive systems, greater susceptibility to disease and even diminished intelligence. Given their long range transport, no one government acting alone can protect is citizens or its environment from POPs. In response to this global problem, the Stockholm Convention, which was adopted in 2001 and entered into force in 2004, requires Parties to take measures to eliminate or reduce the release of POPs into the environment. The Convention is administered by the United Nations Environment Programme and is based in Geneva, Switzerland.

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Basel Convention

The Basel Convention on the Control of Trans-boundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, (the Basel Convention), is an international treaty that was designed to reduce the movements of hazardous waste between nations, and specifically to prevent transfer of hazardous wastes from developed to less developed countries. The Convention is also intended to minimize the amount and toxicity of wastes generated, to ensure their environmentally sound management as closely as possible to the source of generation, and to assist Less Developed Countries in environmentally sound management of the hazardous and other wastes they generate. The Basel Convention specifically lists waste asbestos (dust and fibres) as a substance to be controlled under Annex I; Y36. Ten Pacific countries are Party to the Basel Convention.

Click to visit the Basel Convention Secretariat
Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal

Waigani Convention

The Waigani Convention to Ban the Importation into Forum Island Countries of Hazardous and Radioactive Wastes and to Control the Trans-boundary Movement and Management of Hazardous Wastes within the South Pacific Region (the Waigani Convention) is similar to the Basel Convention, with the exception that the Waigani Convention does include radioactive wastes, and applies only to the Pacific Islands region. The Region's obligations under the Waigani Convention are similar to that under the Basel Convention. There are currently thirteen Pacific Region countries who are signatories to the Waigani Convention. As a Party to the Waigani Convention, these countries are obliged to (among other things):

  • Ban the importation of hazardous and radioactive wastes from outside the convention area;
  • Prohibit shipment to and from non-Parties, unless there is a special agreement;
  • Take measures to reduce the generation of hazardous wastes at source taking into account social, technological, and economic needs;
  • As far as possible, develop adequate treatment and disposal facilities for hazardous wastes; and
  • Follow established procedures for the trans-boundary movement of hazardous waste to other Parties for environmentally sound disposal.