Evolving Issues of International Law and Policy
NUS Centre for International Law series
Edited by S. Jayakumar, Tommy Koh, Robert Beckman and Hao Duy Phan
Chapter 6: State responsibility and transboundary marine pollution
Transboundary pollution of the marine environment is caused by human activities conducted in and on the oceans. This chapter examines the responsibilities owed by States to ensure that damage to the marine environment caused by such activities is prevented, reduced and controlled. It explores potential remedies available to States that have been affected by transboundary marine pollution, and the ways in which liability for damage can be attributed to States who fail to give effect to their duties and obligations to protect and preserve the marine environment from activities conducted under their jurisdiction and control. The fact that the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is a universally accepted global convention governing the oceans makes transboundary marine pollution different in three important respects. First, the principles and provisions governing the protection of the marine environment are more specific than those in other areas. Second, the rules in UNCLOS on the responsibility of States for internationally wrongful acts give injured States the right to seek remedies to prevent transboundary pollution of the marine environment. Third, the dispute settlement regime in UNCLOS allows States to institute compulsory proceedings against other States and hold them accountable when they fail to meet these obligations.
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