Noumea Convention

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Noumea Convention

The Convention for the Protection of Natural Resources and Environment of the South Pacific Region of 1986 also called the Noumea Convention, together with its attached two Protocols, were enacted in 1990. It serves as a comprehensive umbrella pact for the safeguarding, management, and establishment of the coastal and marine ecosystem of the South Pacific Region, and is in place of the Action Plan enacted to manage the environment and natural resources of the South Pacific region created in 1982 (UNEP). The Convention is the Pacific area constituent of the United Nations Environment Programme’s Regional Seas initiative created in 1972. The approach seeks to mitigate the escalating deterioration of the globe’s coastal areas and oceans via the utilization of the coastal environment and marine and sustainable management. As part of realizing the goal, the Program collaborates with Action Plans which have been reinforced with a rigid legal component as Convention and related Protocols on particular issues applying to the South Pacific Region, or the Convention Area. However, the primary intention of this assignment is to give a review or an amendment of the Convention, especially on the parts that are not presently appropriate for purpose. The proposed amendments represent the views of Papua New Guinea, which is one of the signatories to the Convention. Embracing the amended form presents an opportunity for Fiji as well as some member parties to enjoy better provisions that would enhance their protection of key infrastructure committed towards safeguarding the environment from potential harm. Completing the assignment presents an opportunity to understand some of the loopholes associated with the Convention and be able to recommend appropriate adjustments that would make the current structure more influential.   

To begin with, it is essential to acknowledge that some section of Article 1 (Geographical Coverage) may require some adjustment to make the Convention more fit for its purpose. Specifically, Article 1, 1, which informs that the pact applies to the South Pacific Region that is referred to as the Convention Area in the rest of the document is okay and does not require any adjustment. This is because using an alternative term helps to achieve uniformity and commonality in the way of referring to the signatories to the pact. However, what requires some alterations is Article 1, 2. Currently, the provision informs that expect as may be alternatively illustrated in the Protocols attached along with the agreement, the Convention area shall not encompass archipelagic or internal waters of the affiliates as provided for in international law (SREP a). However, the most suitable approach in this instance would be to incorporate both the archipelagic and internal water as being part of the Convention Area. Consequently, the new version should state that unless when provided for in any of the Protocols to the pact, the Convention Area should incorporate both archipelagic and internal waters of the parties. The suggestion provision is necessary because this would help to avoid confrontations regarding the ownership of particular water bodies when it is clear that they belong to a particular territory and that they are answerable for any problems that happen within their territories. The move will particularly benefit Fiji that would gain more control of the water bodies surrounding its territories.

Article 2 (Definitions) give definitions of some of the key terms used in the Convention and their assessment reveals that they provide adequate information apart from some areas that would be better and more information through certain alterations. An area that requires some adjustments is Article 2 (a) that outlines the members of the Convention Area. The list would be more informative by including the longitude and latitude of the identified nations as a way of providing additional description of each state. For instance, rather than just stating Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, and Kiribati, it would be more informative to write something like Australia (25.2744° S, 133.7751° E), Cook Islands (21.2367° S, 159.7777° W), Federated States of Micronesia (7.4256° N, 150.5508° E), Guam (13.4443° N, 144.7937° E), and Kiribati (3.3704° S, 168.7340° W). Including the latitude and longitude of the other states would also be essential as this would enable the audience to specifically identify the location of where the state is situated. However, the other definitions do not seem to have much flaws and relying on them will give much insight into what one needs to know before reading the Convention. For instance, Article 2 (c) rightly puts it that waste or other matter refers to substances and materials of any form or description. Article 2 (d) goes further to identify the wastes that shall be deemed to have the potential to cause harm or pollution, including building materials, vessels, agricultural wastes, and other elements (SREP a). However, an area that would require considerable adjustment is Article 2 (f) that describes what pollution means. The section would be more informative if it distinguished the various forms of pollution while giving the description for each form. For instance, it would be appropriate and more informative to describe air pollution as the introduction into the air or presence of a substance which can cause harm or could be poisonous (Azam et al. 2; Brunekreef 6662; Manisalidis et al.; Oke 109), and land pollution as the depreciation of the land surfaces as well as below the ground (Ileanwa et al. 144). The part should also have clarified water pollution as the contamination of water bodies by elements that make the water unsafe for various activities, including swimming, cooking, consumption, and cleaning (Dunca 1). Revising this area will be of benefit to Papua New Guinea because the country will know what amounts to pollution and be able to embrace effective mitigating measures.

Article 3 (Addition to the Convention Area) is self-explanatory and does not seem to require any adjustments. The change is not necessary because the provision adequately explains what a member state ought to do when seeking to include additional areas under its jurisdiction. The provision is appropriate because it encourages active engagement to deliberate the proposal to include an area under the jurisdiction of a particular member state (SREP a). Besides, the provisions provides a window of ninety days to deliberate on the matter and to determine whether the applying country deserves the opportunity or not. Consequently, the provision should remain as it is currently, which is that parties are welcome to include under their jurisdiction within the Pacific Ocean additional areas. It is then in order to pass the information to the depositary who will as promptly as possible inform the other affiliates of the Member States as long as the request does not meet opposition from members. Specifically, the current provisions allow for ninety days to consider a request by a signatory to include other areas to be part of the area protected by the Convention.

However, some facets of Article 4 (General Provisions) and Article 5 (General Obligations) require considerable alterations to make the directive more suitable for Papua New Guinea and other members who may wish to see considerable transformation in this area. For example, Article 4, 2 directs that nothing in the past or its Protocols shall be regarded to as affecting obligations played by a member party as provided for in past agreements (SREP a). However, this provision appears to be very much exposed because it may allow for actions that contravene the sovereignty of other states or encourage actions that do not may not go well with all Member States. Consequently, the sub-article should state that “Nothing in this environmental agreement or its affiliated Protocols shall temper with the obligations played by a member state as provided for in past agreement unless they cause infringement on other territories.” The refined version will prevent some member parties that may be tempted violate or infringe upon other territories with the knowledge that their actions are protected in past agreements. Another element that require considerable alteration is Article 4, 4, which directs that the Conventions and its related Protocols shall be formed while considering international law impacting on the subject matter. However, this regulation renders national and local laws and laws ineffective. The current provision deters Papua New Guinea and other member states from making their regulations influential. In addition, strictly relying on international guidelines could result in a scenario that counters or contradicts with existing national directives, a situation that could trigger confusion and possible violation of the Convention. Consequently, the provision should state that “The Convention and its related Protocols shall be formed while considering both international, regional, national, and local laws relating to the subject matter.” The new version would ensure that the interests of local communities and individual nations are considered in the drafting of the regulation seeking to safeguard the environmental resources in the South Pacific region. In Article 5, the current provision reiterate adhere to the international framework while not mentioning anything to do with local and national laws in Article 5, 1 (SREP a). The refreshed version should be something like “The Parties shall be committed, either jointly or individually, to adopt all relevant practices in accordance with international, regional, national, and domestic laws, and in in relation with this pact and related Protocols in action to which they are member to mitigate and regulate pollution of the covered area.

Besides, Article 5, 1 advocates for the use of sound environmental management approaches to safeguard natural and developmental resources without specifying some of the effective management techniques. Hence, the section should make it clear that Member States should deploy environmental management methods such as such as prohibition of environmental depreciation and pollution and embracing the concept of corporate philosophy that Amiri et al. and Staniskis feel have the capacity to enhance the capacity to safeguard the environment (107, 2). The section would also be more effective it addresses techniques such as creating community awareness and encouraging participation and behavior change and embracing climate change mitigation techniques that Soryte and Pakalniskiene and Malik et al. identify as suitable environmental management approaches (6, 3). Besides, Article 5, 2 urge Parties to utilize their best endeavors to make sure that the execution of this Convention shall not cause an escalation in adversities in the marine context outside the protected region. However, it does not clarifies the endeavors that that would help them make considerable strides in their protection of natural resources. Hence, the Convention should emphasize approaches such as embracing voluntary practices and comparting innovations and strategies with other regions and conventions that Aragon-Correa and Ortiz-de-Mandojana and Febbraio recommend as some of the most effective forms states can deploy to avoid harming the environment (4, 8). Including the changes would ensure that the directive are more helpful to Papua New Guinea in terms of knowing what specific techniques to use to adequately protect natural resources against possible harm.

However, the current proposal recommends that Articles 6, 7, 8, and 9 should remained unchanged because despite being brief in their illustration, they give clear indications that would allow Papua New Guinea to adhere to the directives without much constraint. For example, Article 6 (Pollution from Vessels) is clear that Parties have an obligation to avert, minimize, or mitigate pollution caused by emissions and discharge from vessels, and to make sure the appropriate application in the protected area. Article 7 (Pollution from Land-Based Sources) is also clear and favorable to Papua New Guinea in the way it urges Parties to embrace actions to avert pollution prompted by discharges or coastal disposals emerging from water bodies or other sources within their territories. Similarly, Article 8 (Pollution from Seabed Activities) and Article 9 (Airborne Pollution) are clear to the point and easy for Parties to follow. They encourage members to embrace measures that avert pollution emerging from indirect and direct exploitation and exploration of the seabed and the soil and contamination occurring from emissions into the atmosphere from actions under their regulation, respectively.

However, Articles 10, 11, and 12 may require substantial alterations to make them more effective and applicable, particularly to Papua New Guinea that is committed to safeguarding its natural resources while relying on a comprehensive guideline. Article 10, 1 asks Parties to consider techniques that would ensure appropriate disposal of waste but does not give much information concerning how to excel in this area other than informing about applying relevant globally acknowledged frameworks and processes connected to the regulation of dumbing of waste materials and other destructive components (SREP a). Hence, an improved version of the sub-article would be “The Parties shall deploy effective mechanisms to suppress and counter pollution in the Convention Area generated by dumping from man-made features and activities, aircrafts, and vessels at sea, encompassing using various techniques such as recovering through recycling, biological and chemical treatment, and development of thermal treatment methods that will continue to impact on waste management techniques (Chapter 6; Federal Office for the Environment).” biological and chemical treatment is an effective method because it facilitates the withdrawal of pollutants from wastes (Azam et al., 6; Elleuch and Boumahed 18226). Following the treatment process, the pollutants can be disbursed in concentrated forms in amenities destined for this function (Crognale 5). Article 11 (Storage of Toxic and Hazardous Wastes) is short and straight to the point concerning what Parties can do to avert and regulate pollution in the protected area emanating from the storage of toxic and poisonous or hazardous waste. However, this section only points out the need to avoid storing radioactive components and wastes in the safeguarded area. Thus a renewed version of this Article would be that “Parties will embrace the most suitable approaches to thwart pollution in the Convention Area emerging from keeping toxic components using effective mechanisms such as chemical forms like oxidation and precipitation. Another thermal approach that states can use to handle hazardous waste include through incineration, which both detoxify the waste as well as destroys them” (Adedipe et al. 328; Appannagari 153; Odumoso et al. 275). Article 12 is clear concerning testing nuclear devices, but it would be better if it offered more details on the matter. A better version would be that member nations would take measures to avoid potential pollution from testing of nuclear devices, while paying attention to safe forms such as suspensions from balloons, on top of tall buildings, underwater, and underground depending on severity or type of nuclear device (UN). Enacting the changes will be beneficial to Papua New Guinea that will gain specific approaches and skills to handling pollution that is a key environmental challenge.

Articles 22 and 23 provide information concerning the meetings of parties and adoption of protocols, respectively but certain elements require improvement to make them friendlier to the people of Papua New Guinea. The current provision as provided for in Article 22, 1 informs that the Parties shall conduct ordinary engagements once after every a couple of years. However, the refined version states that “Parties shall convene for ordinary meetings annually to review the policy and recommend ways of making changes (SREP a). Changing the period to one year will benefit Papua New Guinea that will get regular updates about what it needs to do to enhance its capacity to counter factors that threaten its environment and natural resources. Besides, the section should provide more roles of the meetings that should happen at a specified data each year. Thus, the Article should inform that Parties will get a platform to give their sentiments and praises on the implementation of the Convention and suggest ways of countering challenges that still deter smooth progress of how member nations abide by the provisions. On the other hand, Article 23 is relatively brief and hardly gives much information about the adoption of protocols (SREP a). The section should notify about what could cause adoption of protocols, how they will be managed or reviewed, as well as provide guidelines on how to discard protocols that are ineffective or no longer applicable. Making the changes will allow Papua New Guinea to determine whether the Protocols have any significance within its territories and what it needs to do anything specific to act. The changes in Articles 22 and 23 may appear insignificant but play fundamental functions not only in providing a clear view to Papua New Guinea on what the Convention requires but also to other member states that may wish to see such alterations happen.

Changes to the Protocols

Making considerable changes to the Protocols attached to the Convention would have an equally effective impact on making the directive influential and impactful on Papua New Guinea. Articles 1 through 4 may require slight adjustments to make them clearer because of their brevity. In Article 1 (Definitions), the Protocol does not give any other definitions apart from that of “Convention”, which refers to the Noumea Convention as used throughout the Protocol. However, the section would be more informative if it provided additional definitions about the various terms that occur or reoccur in the guideline. For example, the Article would include the definition of Protocol Area in this section and state that it refers to the entire jurisdiction where the Protocol has effect. It is in Article 2 where the description of Protocol Area occurs whereas it should be placed in Article 1 (SREP a). The most suitable approach in this instance would be to identify the affiliate Parties and possibly mention their latitudes and longitudes. Article 3 mentions some obligations that Parties are obliged to perform as part of their duty in averting the emergence of pollution due to dumping. For instance, Article 3, 1 direct that Parties shall adopt all suitable mechanisms to mitigate and regulate pollution in the Protocol Area by dumping. However, this section would be more informative if it includes some of the technological methods that can help to control, reduce, and prevent pollution in the designated area. Thus, Article 3, 1 would be far much better if it stated that “Parties shall take all suitable approaches to avert and regulate pollution in the Protocol Area by using traditional forms and modern technology such as developing recovery plants that transform chemical waste into safe products (Tsamenyi 150; United Nations 43).” Adhering to the recommended changes will give better reflection of the people of Papua New Guinea and those who have similar views.

Similarly, Article 15 (Institutional Arrangements) and Article 16 (Meeting of the Parties) are equally informative and comprehensive in the way they address the key issues, but making some adjustments to particular clauses would make them more effective. In Article 15, it would be necessary to include other functions of the Organization that is assigned duties by the Parties to the Protocol. For example, the Organization’s roles would include to report to Parties about the desires and wishes of domestic formations working with the objective of reducing pollution by dumping, reporting to the Parties about changes that happen in this area, and requires considerable attention at the international level to enact more effective interventions. Article 16 is quite elaborative in describing how the meetings that bring Parties together take place. Article 16, 1 provides the circumstances under which meetings of the Parties take place. It further mentions the conditions under which Parties may conduct extraordinary meetings in accordance with Article 22 of the Convention. However, the section omits the circumstances that could lead to the holding of an extraordinary meeting. The section should categorically state that factors such as a national disaster, policy change, and change in leaders (Ramli) could prompt an extraordinary meeting. The protocol would be more elaborative in Article 16, 2 if it included more functions of the meetings to the affiliate members. It would be better to mention that the meetings would provide the chance to discuss the need to incorporate more advanced forms as well as to share information about what other conventions include and how their values can be embedded on the Convention to make it more effective.

More fundamentally, Article 25 and Article 32 would require some alterations, especially in sub articles that require more clarification for the people of Papua New Guinea to gain from the framework. Article 25 outlines various conditions that must be fulfilled for annexation to happen to the Convention and Protocol. Article 25, 2 while outlining the requirements for annexation inform that unless provided for in any Protocol in accordance with the annexes, various procedures take effect to the adoption and implementation of any modifications to the annexes to any Protocols or Conventions. For instance, Article 25, 2, and clarifies that any Party may suggest changes to the annexes to this Protocol and the Convention (SREP a). However, this clause should be clearer by stating that Party members can recommend changes to the annexes to any Protocols or the Convention if their contribution will have significant impact on the trajectory of the guideline. Article 32, a provision that provides more guidelines on denunciation, would become more applicable to the people of Papua New Guinea if certain alterations happen (SREP a). Article 32, 1 states that a Party member can denounce the provisions of the agreement two years after their signing of the agreement (SREP a). However, the most suitable provision in this instance would be to state that “Members would be free to denounce or leave the Convention one year after their becoming part of the group.” Shortening the period would allow the team that wants to withdraw to focus on other things other than paying attention to when it will be relieved from the Convention. These two adjustments are crucial and require considerable attention from key stakeholders to make the regulation more comprehensive and relevant to Papua New Guinea.

Why the Change is Necessary

One of the reasons why it is essential to come up with an advanced form of the Convention is that things have increasingly transformed since the regulation came into action in 1990. Consequently, relying on the older version renders the regulation less applicable, especially when examining an issue that could have changed significantly as a result of the changes in times and situations (Boer 46). For instance, some targets that appeared so real in the past may not give a similar impression in the current times when factors such as climate change and global warming have become more apparent. Hence, making alterations, especially in areas that are likely to generate controversy due to the time difference would improve its effectiveness and applicability. The other reason why the alteration is necessary is that whereas the Parties have a common goal that bring members together, it is apparent they have individual interests that they would want to be included in the binding framework (Wallis et al). Thus, taking into consideration the regulations and cultural aspirations of individual states offers a chance to develop a more comprehensive document that captures the interests and aspirations of a larger group and not only a few people who determine what the rest follow without giving their views on the matter. It is the reason why Parties need a chance to give their views, particularly on areas where they think do not work as effectively as they expected or would wish to happen. More fundamentally, making changes to the current Convention increases the likelihood for gaining specific tips on how to deal with various environmental problems. Some of the provisions in the present model do not give explicit description on how to deal with particular issues, but being clearer on how to handle certain tasks makes the Convention more elaborate and helpful to individual Parties.


The Noumea Convention has over the years played crucial roles in facilitating the protection of natural resources in the South Pacific region, but its influence is likely to expand with making necessary adjustments. The analysis reveals that various Articles in the Convention are appropriate and effective in the way they guide Parties to deal with issues affecting the environment within their territories. However, it also shows that the provision may not be as effective, especially in the case of Papua New Guinea if it remains as it. Therefore, identifying areas that require alterations and going ahead to enact the change will play fundamental functions in ensuring that all Parties contribute towards a common goal. The restructuring process should take various factors into consideration to ensure that the desires and interests of various member states are reflected in the final publication. Providing member states with an opportunity to give their voice in the on the matter will help to eradicate controversies that are likely to emerge when some groups feel that their views or aspirations are not addressed as adequately as possible. Prior to proceeding with altering certain articles in the Convention it is essential to be clear on why the change is necessary to avoid changing what would be equally effective even without the adjustment. Various factors necessitate the change. One of the reasons why it is essential to alter some of the provisions is that times have changed significantly since the time the Convention came into action. Besides, making the necessary adjustments will make the framework more enlightening and inclusive. However, it is imperative to find out what needs to change first before embarking on the modification to arrive at a conclusion that will have long-term positive influence.

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