Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Faculty of Law


This thesis explores the applications and shortcomings of international regimes addressing land-based sources of marine pollution (LBSMP).

It identifies the sources and effects of LBSMP in addition to problems and associated issues in controlling them. Management principles, policy, and laws of LBSMP control are examined at both regional and international levels along with the problems and prospects of present regimes of LBSMP control.

The investigation commences with a descriptive account of international management principles and policies of LBSMP control and proceeds by examining relevant provisions of international and regional legal regimes. It also examines the major strengths and weaknesses of these regimes and difficulties involved in their implementation. These are investigated in order to gain an understanding of, and to fill in the gaps in present regimes of LBSMP control, and to formulate and suggest an effective international legal framework.

Global findings estimate that 80% of marine pollution originates from land-based sources and is trans-boundary in nature. A number of legal and policy initiatives have been undertaken incorporating international management principles to establish international regimes to protect the marine environment from LBSMP. However, they are still inefficient, and questions remain as to how effective present regimes are. It is concluded here that the existing global arrangements of LBSMP control are unsatisfactory. United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (LOSC), the only global treaty addressing LBSMP, inadequately covers this issue. Several globally agreed rules, standards, and recommended practices have been adopted together with detailed strategies. Although they have provided guidance on actions needed, and emphasis on the importance of cooperation at international and regional levels to control LBSMP, they are of a non-binding nature. Nevertheless, it is found that LBSMP control is better addressed at regional levels. Provisions in regional treaties are more onerous and precautionary than those of the LOSC. However, over all, satisfactory outcomes are yet to be seen at regional levels. Finally, progress has been achieved only in regions where developed countries or jointly developed and developing countries, are the participants in a LBSMP control regime. LBSMP control is grossly neglected where control regimes comprise only developing countries. These findings suggest that more effective arrangements remain to be designed, particularly to reinforce LBSMP control opportunities for developing countries cooperating through regional regimes.

Based on the conclusions of the thesis, one possible solution to the deficiencies of the existing legal regimes of LBSMP control is proposed. That is, a comprehensive global treaty, with a new model of effective cooperation through the interlocking of regional and global arrangements, is proposed.

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