Document Details
Conference Paper
Marine Waters and River Basin Management in Politically Decentralised Countries

Marine Waters and River Basin Management in
Politically Decentralised Countries
Griselda Capaldo
Professor in the Law Faculty at the University of Buenos Aires
Scientific Researcher for the CONICET (Argentina)
Researcher for the Institute of Legal and Social Research A. L. Gioja
University of Buenos Aires (UBA)
This work analyses how to prevent the pollution of the marine environment from landbased
sources, particularly that caused by river basins discharging their water into the
South Atlantic. To tackle this issue, the topic is examined at both a local level
(Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay) and at a regional level (La Plata
Basin and MERCOSUR). The research is divided into three sections. In the first two, a
comparative-analogical study is carried out with the purpose of detecting symmetries or
asymmetries, which – in the third section – will show the degree of difficulty that the
group of States will have to protect the sea and its biota not only from anthropic
activities developed along the coastline but also those coming from rivers. The first
section examines the local rules of the five countries mentioned above that are directly
or indirectly connected with the protection of the marine environment from water
sources. This methodological strategy aims to weigh and compare the degree of
coherence or incongruence between the jurisdictions. The second section explores the
degree of symmetry -or asymmetry- attained by the five riparian countries of La Plata
Basin (four of them being members of the MERCOSUR) through those bilateral,
regional and international environmental treaties – directly or indirectly connected with
the protection of the marine environment – that they have ratified or accepted. The third
section details how the degree of legal harmony (but not necessarily of governance)
achieved by the five States of La Plata Basin over the last seventy five years could be
used as a legal platform for common actions for the protection of the South Atlantic
marine environment. The section concludes with the description of two possible
scenarios for action: the first which presents an optimal solution and the second a less
ideal outcome.
Key words
Water basins – pollution of the marine environment – La Plata Basin – MERCOSUR
I. Introduction
Interest in considering the pollution of the marine environment from river basins first
appeared in the international sphere. Since 1967 and through the Joint Group of Experts
on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP), the scientific
community has noted the dual role played by oceans and their coastlines as providers of
natural resources and environmental services, as well as the anthropic sources that
pollute them from coasts. As regards the first, thanks to research based on 100 studies
undertaken over the last two decades, it has been estimated that the global value of
goods and services supplied by marine and coastal ecosystems is nearly US$23 trillion
per year – almost the world’s GNP. As regards the second, it is known that the main
source of marine pollution comes from the dumping of urban, industrial and agricultural
solid and liquid waste and, to a lesser degree, from the rivers emptying into the sea.
Therefore, the topic analysed in this paper has a complex and pluri-focal structure.
To tackle the problem, the international community – through the Regional Seas
Programme and the Global Programme of Action (GPA) designed and monitored by the
UN Environment Programme (UNEP) since 1974 and 1995 respectively – is devoting
great efforts to protect oceans by identifying and regulating those land-based activities
that are harmful to the marine zones. In brief, the GPA aims to prevent the degradation
of the marine environment through the development of fully comprehensive directives
at three levels: international, national and regional. According to statistics, 80% of
ocean pollution comes from coastal-based activities, carried out up to 100 km inland.
This area could extend even further if pollution carried along rivers that run down to
seas is taken into account. The growing alteration and destruction of coastal-marine
habitats and ecosystems; the increase in and diffusion of processes of eutrophication;
the reduction in fishing grounds and other renewable resources; and changes in the
volume of sediments due to water variations are evidence of such environmental
In the seventh extraordinary session held in Cartagena de las Indias, from 13 to 15
February 2002, UNEP endorsed decision SS.VII/6 through which the Work Programme
was approved. The Programme emphasises the urgent need to integrate the
management and protection of coastal resources with an appropriate administration of
The key points of the Work Programme are: the NPA (National Programmes of Action),
the SAP Wastewater (Strategic Action Plan on Municipal Wastewater), the PADH
(Physical Alteration and Destruction of Habitats), and the ICARM (Integrated Coastal
Area and River Basin Management). Additionally, the following actions can also be
added: the PAO (Public Awareness and Outreach), the GPA’s Clearing-House
Mechanism and a number of special tools, such as the legal and institutional
agreements, innovative financial agreements, and the Integrated Coastal Area and River
Basin Management (ICARM).
In turn, the main aims of the ICARM are:
• to implement an integrated management of river basin and coastal systems,
limiting the use of natural resources; and
• to promote multi-sectoral integration at all levels in decision-making, linking the
large scale management to necessary intervention at local levels.
Taking into account that La Plata Basin – with an area of 3.1 million km2 – is the fifth
largest drainage area in the world and the second largest in South America1 and
considering that it empties an average of 23,000 m3 of water per second into the
Atlantic Ocean (MENÉNDEZ et RE, 2005), what will be examined in the following
section is the degree of harmony, or asymmetry, that exists between the national rules of
the five riparian States to prevent and control the pollution of the marine environment
from watersheds. The author’s purpose is to ascertain if the degree of harmony is so
important high as to facilitate integrated policies and actions for the water basin,
linking large scale management with necessary interventions at local levels, in order to
avoid the degradation of the marine environment in this area of the South Atlantic
Ocean from La Plata Basin – whose waters receive large amounts of raw waste,
industrial and urban effluents, dredging, run-off, and, spills from shipping activities
(KURUCZ, 1997).
1 The area occupied by the basin is roughly one third of the size of the United States and is almost as large
as the area occupied by the European Union.
II. Water Regulation in the Riparian States of La Plata Basin
In this section, the environmental rules that have been passed by each of the five
riparian States of La Plata Basin (see Map 1) related to water law will be listed and
briefly described. The author’s aim is to detect what principles, obligations and goals
are repeatedly enshrined by national legislation so as to discern their degree of
consistency or inconsistency. Considering the amount of information, only the highest
level rules will receive attention – starting with the constitutional provisions.
1. The Environmental Clause in the Constitutions of the Riparian States of La
Plata Basin
This part analyses and compares the environmental provisions in the Constitutions of
Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. The Constitutions of Uruguay and
Bolivia address environmental issues rather sparingly, while those of Brazil and
Paraguay are more complete. That of Argentina falls between the two extremes.
All of them have similar provisions for the defence, conservation and preservation of
the environment, but only those of Argentina and Brazil have enshrined the principle of
inter-generational responsibility. The other States do this through lower level rules,
whereas Uruguay and Paraguay are the only ones that have expressly recognised the
right of access to drinking water as a human right in rules of derivative law.
With the exception of Bolivia, the Constitutions include the obligation of any polluter to
compensate for, and redress, environmental damage. However, only those of Paraguay
and Brazil specifically refer to environmental offences or crimes. Bolivia does this
through Chapter VI of Law 1333/92 on the Environment, while Argentina and Uruguay
do the same but within their Criminal Codes.
The Constitutions of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay allude to ecological balance and
propose an ecosystem-based focus (even more detailed in the Constitutions of the latter
two), also protecting collective environmental rights and allowing their protection
through collective action (called “acción de amparo” in the Constitutions of Argentina
and Paraguay).
This same group of countries constitutionally guarantee the right to both environmental
information and education.
With the exception of Uruguay, the rest of the Constitutions acknowledge the rights of
the native communities to defend, manage and preserve those habitats that they have
traditionally occupied. The Constitution of Paraguay even gives priority to the
application of indigenous common law when it is a matter of resolving disputes that
have arisen between different tribes.
The Brazilian Constitution includes specific rules on the evaluation of environmental
impact and water resource management, while only the Paraguayan has provisions for
environmental disasters or calamities.
Surface water and groundwater are explicitly considered as public property in the
Constitutions of Brazil and Bolivia, and implicitly in the Argentinean highest law (this
is inferred from article 124, which sets forth that “The natural resources existing in the
territories of the province are part of their domain”). An identical policy has been
adopted by Paraguay and Bolivia, but through lower level rules.
Lastly, none of the countries has specific provisions regarding the prevention and
protection of the marine environment from pollution from land-based sources (or even
water sources). Only Brazil alludes to the duty to preserve the environment and the
natural resources of the coastal zone (article 225.4).
2. Water Law in National Legislation
The objective of this part is to undertake a comparative-synchronised analysis of water
related issues in the legislation of La Plata basin’s riparian States.
A) Argentina
Argentina is a federal country comprising a national government, 23 Provinces and one
Autonomous City (Buenos Aires). The distribution of the administrative, legislative
and jurisdictional competences between Nation and Provinces is undertaken according
to article 121 of the Constitution. The Provinces maintain the powers not delegated by
the Constitution to the Federal Government and those that have expressly been reserved
for special agreements at the time of their incorporation into the Republic.
As regards preservation of water and water resources, Argentina has the General
Environment Law No. 25675/02, Act No. 25688/02 on Environmental Water
Management, Act No. 23879/90 (as amended in 1995 and 2004) on Environmental
Impact Assessment for Dams, Act No. 24354/94 relative to the National System of
Public Investment, whose two appendices call for Environmental Impact Assessments
(EIAs) for ports and navigable channels – among other assessable activities, and Act
No. 25831/04 on Free Access to Public Environmental Information.
As a common denominator, this set of rules enshrine the following principles, rights and
obligations: (1) preservation, conservation, restoration and improvement of the quality
of natural and cultural environmental resources; (2) social participation in decision
making processes; (3) rational and sustainable use of natural resources; (4) conservation
of biological diversity; (5) the inter-generational principle; (6) the right to information;
(7) the right to environmental education; (8) minimising environmental risks; (9)
restoration of damage caused by environmental pollution; (10) the precautionary
principle; (11) environmental territorial planning; (12) the principle of legal congruence
between provincial and municipal legislation in matters addressing environmental
issues; (13) the principle of progression, meaning that the environmental objectives
should be reached gradually; and (14) liability for damage caused to the environment.
In addition, Act No. 25688/02 on Environmental Water Management requires unity in
the environmental management of watersheds and the obligation of managing
transboundary watersheds through Basin Committees. In turn, Law 25675/02 creates an
Environmental Compensation Fund to be supervised by each provincial authority.
It is worth noting that neither the General Environment Law nor the Act on
Environmental Water Management have commenced operation yet. This legislative
delay affects their legal efficacy, since most parts of their prescriptions are
programmatic rather than operative.
Argentina does not have specific federal legislation for coastal-marine management, or
for the prevention of marine pollution from water sources. The country only
participates in two UN Programme for Development (UNDP) projects – one of them
jointly with Uruguay – related to the integrated management of coasts and riversides.
B) Bolivia
Bolivia is a unitary country, with 9 Departments subdivided into 112 Provinces. Its
main water related rules are the Water Act of 1906, Act No. 1333/92 for the
Environment, Act No. 1604/94 for Electricity, Act No. 2066/00 for Basic Sanitation,
and the Supreme Decrees 24716/97 for Water Sector Concessions and 24176/95 which
passed three Rules for Environmental Management, Prevention and Environmental
Control (it regulates, among other things, EIAs), and Water Pollution.
All of these have the following principles, rights and obligations in common: (1)
protection, prevention and conservation of the environment and natural resources; (2)
promotion of sustainable development; (3) the principle of intergenerational
responsibility; (4) conservation of biological diversity; (5) optimisation and
rationalisation of the use of water, air, ground and other renewable natural resources
guaranteeing their long-term availability; (6) the right to environmental education; (7)
territorial planning, through ecological, economic, social and cultural zoning; (8)
creation and maintenance of environmental heritage accounts; (9) standardising national
environmental policies according to international ones; (10) promotion and fostering of
scientific and technological research related to the environment and natural resources;
(11) organisation, updating and divulging of national environmental information; (12)
promotion of actions for environmental sanitation, ensuring the provision of basic
services to urban and rural populations; (13) the right to participate in environmental
management, and the duty to take care of it; (14) the right to receive accurate and
sufficient environmental information; (15) monitoring environmental quality; (16)
mitigation and avoidance of negative environmental impacts that may be caused by any
project, work, or activity; and (17) compensation for the damage caused by
environmental pollution.
Act 1333 has a couple of Chapters on Water (Ch. II) and Hydro-biological Resources
(Ch. VII) which underline the integrated management of basins as geographical-units.
They also control the dumping of any liquid, solid or gaseous substance or waste that
pollutes or may pollute the water or degrade its surroundings. Additionally, a National
Fund for the Environment (FONAMA) is created under the control of the Bolivian
President (article 87).
In summary, the management of water resources in this land-locked State is
decentralised, and participative (DEL CARPIO, 2005). Last but not least, Bolivia
recognises the rights of indigenous communities to undertake sustainable management
of water resources, respecting their own native authorities, uses, customs, rights and
traditional knowledge (DEL CARPIO,2005).
C) Brazil
Brazil is a federal republic divided into 26 States and one Federal District (Brasilia).
The legal treatment of water and water resources is addressed by the Water Code of
1934 (Decree-law 24643), Act No. 9433/77 on National Water Policy, Act No. 6938/81
on National Environmental Policy, Act No. 9605/98 on Crimes Against the
Environment, Act No. 9984/00 through which the National Water Agency was created,
and Act No. 7661/88 on the National Coastal Management Plan.
This constellation of laws have the following principles, rights and obligations in
common: (1) the principle of intergenerational responsibility; (2) promotion of
sustainable uses of water; (3) preservation, improvement and recuperation of
environmental quality; (4) compensation for damage caused to the environment and
water resources; (5) adoption of measures necessary to prevent critical environmental
and water events; (6) responsibility for the damage caused to the environment, and to
assets of value (including aesthetic and tourist value); (7) prevention and minimisation
of environmental damage, as well as the effects of droughts or flooding; (8) control of
water pollution; (9) the right to environmental information; (10) the right to
environmental education; (11) maintenance of ecological balance; (12) environmental
territorial planning and social and economic development; (13) the duty to preserve the
areas that are most representative of the ecosystems; (14) social participation in
environmental management; and (15) the principle of rational and integrated use of
water, soil, subsoil and air.
In Brazil, water resource management is decentralised and participative through the
Basin Committees. In addition, water is considered as a limited natural resource, with
economic value, and multiple uses.
Brazil has specific legislation for coastal-marine management (Act No. 7661/88, which
created the National Coastal Management Plan). Although this rule aims for the
conservation and protection of water, estuary and lagoon systems as well as the natural
resources – renewable or not – in the coastal region, the scope of its spatial application
could be extended up to the ocean, because, based on its subject matter, it also includes
coastal and oceanic islands as well as headlands and marine grottoes.
Similarly to Argentina and Uruguay, Brazil is also implementing a UNEP programme
concerning integrated coastal management.
D) Paraguay
Paraguay is a unitary country, divided into autonomous Departments and
Municipalities. Until mid-2007, water issues were dispersed among a dozen rules. That
year, Act 3239 relating to Water Resources of Paraguay was passed, and its regulation
is still under consideration. Obviously, this law operates with others relating to water
management, such as Act 294/93 on EIA (required, among other activities, for hydraulic
and port works, and for aqueducts in general), Act 352/94 on Wild Protected Areas
(amongst whose objectives is the preservation and management of water basins and
wetlands, as well as controlling their erosion and sedimentation), and the Agrarian
Statute passed by Act 1863/01.
All of these have the following principles, rights and obligations in common: (1)
management and sustainable, rational and integrated use of water and natural resources;
(2) protection, conservation and restoration of lands on which water resources are
found; (3) harmonious balance between the environment and public or private interests;
(4) criterion of unity in basin management; (5) guaranteeing the human right of access
to drinking water; (6) minimisation of the adverse effects or damage to the environment;
(7) social, environmental and economic value of water resources; (8) systemic approach
to water basins; (9) the right to environmental information; (10) public participation in
environmental and water resource management; (11) the principle of intergenerational
responsibility; (12) protection of the environment against the effects of climate change,
flooding and salinization; (13) harmonisation of environmental law with international
treaties and agreements ratified by Paraguay; (14) protection of ecological flows; and
(15) responsibility for damage caused to the environment.
Due to its uniqueness, it is worth remembering that in Paraguay the right to use water
resources cannot be granted or transferred to a foreign State or its representatives
(article 14, Act 3239).
E) Uruguay
Uruguay is a unitary country, comprising 19 autonomous Departments. Water
resources is ruled by the Water Code, passed by decree-law 14859/78 (as amended in
1987 and 1991), Act No. 16466/94 on EIA (necessary for sewage waters, ports,
hydrological works), and Act No. 17283/00 on Environmental Protection.
All of these have the following principles, rights and obligations in common: (1)
avoidance of any action that may cause destruction or serious pollution to the
environment; (2) responsibility for the damage caused to the environment; (3)
compensation for damage caused to the environment; (4) the duty of adopting all the
measures necessary to prevent, eliminate and mitigate negative environmental impacts;
(5) public participation in environmental management; (6) sustainable development; (7)
the principle of intergenerational responsibility; (8) the right to a healthy, balanced
environment; (9) economic and social development shall be based on an environmental
approach; (10) the principle of graduality; (11) the right to environmental information;
(12) the right to environmental education; (13) environmental territorial planning; (14)
the obligation to consider watersheds as ,management units.
Uruguayan legislation, also enshrines the principle of regional and international
environmental cooperation, the recognition of the cross-sectoral nature of environmental
management and the duty to conserve both the form and the structure of the Uruguayan
The ECOPLATA Project, agreed to by Uruguay and Canada in 1991 (through the
International Research Centre for Canadian Development), for capacity building, and
the development of sea sciences and coastal areas. On the other hand, the Integrated
Coastal Zone Management,2 begun in 1997, aims to achieve the sustainable
development of coastal areas. Its objective is to consolidate an efficient protection of
the most sensitive areas and ensure the sustainability of the various social and
productive uses of coasts.
III. Water Regulation in International Treaties In Force Amongst the Riparian
States of La Plata Basin
In this section, the main international environmental rules relating to water that have
been adopted by the riparian countries of La Plata Basin will be described. The main
goal is to examine how consistent the bundle of international commitments taken by the
riparian States are with regard to the sustainable and integrated management of the
1. Multilateral Agreements Referring to Water Resources
The First Pan-American Conference, held in Washington in 1889 adopted a series of
recommendations, one of the most outstanding being the right of the riparian States of
transboundary basins to use as much water as needed provided that this did not cause
detrimental effects to the interests of the other riparian States. In 1933, during the
Seventh Inter-American Conference, 14 Central and South American countries
subscribed to the Montevideo Declaration on Agricultural and Cattle Uses of
International Rivers. The duty to inform other riparian States before undertaking any
work or study on a shared river is a recommended practice. Otherwise, the affected
2 It comprises the Ministry of Housing, Territorial Organisation and Environment, the University of the
Republic, the National Aquatic Resources Management (DINARA) and the Navy Oceanographic, Water
and Meteorological Service.
country may start – under protest – a conciliation process to resolve the dispute through
a joint technical commission. If agreement is not possible, the dispute shall be settled
via conciliation, or via the special procedure determined in the treaties in force in
America or, lastly, via arbitration. This Declaration was applied by Bolivia and Chile
between 1939 and 1962 to decide the dispute which had arisen over the Lauca River.
Another regional milestone was the Charter of Punta del Este, signed in 1961, whereby
the American countries acknowledged the crucial importance of having access to
sufficient drinking water for people (ALLENDE, 1971).
From the 1960s onwards, the five riparian States of La Plata Basin (Argentina, Bolivia,
Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay) have endorsed a series of mutual commitments to
ensure a harmonious and balanced development of the region in general and of La Plata
River and its tributaries in particular.
The first step was taken in 1967 with the creation of the Intergovernmental
Coordination Committee for La Plata Basin countries (CIC, in Spanish).
The second step was taken in 1968 through the Santa Cruz de la Sierra Declaration, the
primary objective of which is to preserve access to goods and services for future
generations through: (1) maximum harvesting of natural resources (Preamble, paragraph
3; and Section II.C.1); and (2) promoting shared projects to inventory and evaluate the
natural resources of the Basin (Sections II.A.3 and II.A.7).
The next was the adoption of La Plata Basin Treaty in 1969, wherein the CIC was
established as its permanent agency (article 3). Its main objective is to promote the
harmonious development and physical integration of the Basin, as well as of those areas
which directly and considerably affect it (article 1). To this end, the riparian States of
La Plata Basin committed to: (1) undertake a rational use of water resources,
particularly through multiple and equitable use (article 1.b); (2) preserve and foster
animal and plant life (article 1.c); (3) cooperate in areas of education, health and the
fight against diseases (article 1.g); (4) promote the inventory, appraisal and use of
natural resources in the area (article 1.h); (5) develop collective actions while respecting
international law and according to best practice between neighbouring, friendly
countries (article 5); (6) maintain the navigable condition of rivers (article 1.a and 1.d);
(7) achieve other goals referring to watershed development through specific or partial,
bilateral or multilateral agreements (article 6); (8) adopt decisions unanimously (article
2, paragraph 3); and (9) preserve the natural resources of the region for future
generations (Preamble).
In 1971, the same group of States signed the Asunción Declaration for the Use of
International Rivers whereby it is recognised: (1) the State can use as much water as her
needs require provided that it does not cause a significant harm to the other State (First
Principle); (2) the States will exchange information (Third Principle); (3) the States will
maintain the navigability of rivers (Fifth Principle); and (4) the States will adopt the
necessary measures to preserve the basin’s living resources (Seventh Principle).
In 1992, as a result of successive Resolutions unanimously adopted since 1987, the
same countries adopted the Santa Cruz de la Sierra Agreement on the Fluvial Transport
along the HIDROVIA Paraná-Paraguay and its six Additional Protocols. Although the
Agreement is inserted within the scope of La Plata Basin Treaty (article 1), it has its
own institutional organisation (the Intergovernmental Committee of the HIDROVIA–
CIH in Spanish, and the Agreement Committee –CA in Spanish). The CIC and the CIH
run separately and independently (articles 22 to 25). Due to the fact that there is no
interaction between them, the integrated management of the watershed is a pending
issue (CAPALDO, 2003). The Agreement pays attention to: (1) the creation of a
community of interests, efficient and common, based on equal rights and obligations of
the riparian countries (Preamble); (2) protection of the environment, health and public
order, in accordance with the respective internal legislation (article 34); (3) the duty of
not affecting the safety of navigation, third parties, or the environment when
undertaking operations to remove temporary obstacles to navigation (article 38 of the
Additional Protocol for Navigation and Safety); (4) the obligation of shipowners to
report the pollution of the waters to the respective authority in each country (article 58
of the Additional Protocol for Navigation and Safety); (5) protection, preservation and
conservation of the waters, human health, the biota and the natural resources of the
Paraguay-Paraná Waterway, as well as minimising, controlling and avoiding its
pollution (articles 82 to 101 of the Additional Protocol for Navigation and Safety); (6)
adoption of measures necessary to prevent, reduce and control the pollution of the
waters caused by ships and their operations in the Waterway (articles 82 to 101 of the
Additional Protocol for Navigation and Safety); (7) maintenance of the navigability of
the rivers (articles 1 to 36 of the Agreement and articles 35 to 39 of the Additional
Protocol for Navigation and Safety); (8) exchange information about navigation safety,
water pollution and about any rule that each State may pass relating to the prevention of
pollution incidents, (articles 51, 58 and 96 of the Additional Protocol for Navigation and
Safety); (9) making the State responsible for the activities undertaken in its
jurisdictional waters to the extent they may impair or obstruct navigation or threaten
damage to third parties or to the environment (article 39 of the Additional Protocol for
Navigation and Safety).
2. MERCOSUR and the Environment
Nine years later, in 2001, the four riparian Basin States who are also members of
MERCOSUR (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay) signed the Framework
Agreement on the Environment (in force since 2004). The signatories committed
themselves to: (1) protecting the environment and the use of available resources through
coordinating policies, based on principles of graduality, flexibility and equilibrium
(article 3.a); (2) fostering sustainable development (article 1, article 3.c); (3) promoting
effective participation of civil society in environmental matters (article 3.e); (4)
incorporating environmental aspects into common policies of the MERCOSUR (articles
3.b and 6.b); (5) cooperating in the fulfilment of the international environmental
agreements endorsed by MERCOSUR’s members and implementing the principles of
the 1992 Rio Declaration (articles 2 and 5); (6) participation of national agencies and
civil society in analysing the environmental problems of the sub-region (article 6, first
paragraph); (7) harmonising environmental legislation (article 6.a and 6.c); (8)
exchanging information (article 6.a); (9) preventing, controlling and mitigating
environmental impacts, especially in boundary zones (article 6.j); (10) fostering
environmental education (article 6.l); (11) considering cultural aspects, when necessary,
in the decision-making process relating to environmental matters (article 6.m).
This Framework Agreement has an Additional Protocol for Cooperation and Assistance
during Environmental Emergencies, signed in 2001, not yet in force.
Groundwater or confined or semi-confined aquifers, such as the Guaraní, are not
addressed here since the topic is beyond the scope of this paper.
3. Other Environmental Agreements
The five member States of La Plata Basin have also endorsed a large number of
environmental treaties in force3 as well as bilateral cooperation treaties4 that establish:
(1) sustainable development; (2) environmental cooperation; (3) data exchange; (4)
protection and preservation of ecosystems; (5) prevention, reduction and control of
pollution; (6) prevention and mitigation of other conditions detrimental to the
environment; and (7) the precautionary and polluter-payer principles.
4. Relevant Actions in the Area of Coastal Management
Over the last 35 years, UNEP has been coordinating different Regional Seas
Programmes to control the degradation of oceans and coastal zones through a series of
legal strategies and specific actions in sustainable management.
More than 140 countries participate in 13 Regional Seas Programmes coordinated by
UNEP. All of them are in force through the following regional treaties: for the
Mediterranean Sea (MAP), for the Wider Caribbean (CAR), for the Coastal and Marine
Areas in Central and West Africa (WACAF), the Action Plan for the Protection,
Management and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the Eastern
African Region (EAF), the Protection and Development Plan for the Marine and
Coastal Areas in the Region of the East Asian Seas (EAS), the Management and
3 For example, the most relevant include the 1971 Ramsar Convention (in 22 I.L.M. 698); the 1982 UN
Convention on the Law of the Sea (UN Doc. A/CONF.62/122, reprinted in 21 I.L.M. 1261); the 1985
Convention on the Protection of the Ozone Layer (in 22 I.L.M. 698 and UNTS, Vol 1513, p 293) and its
1987 Montreal Protocol with London, Copenhagen and Montreal amendments (26 I.L.M. 1529 and
1550); the 1989 Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes
and Their Disposal, 1989 (28 I.L.M. 657); the 1992 Framework Agreement on Climate Change (31
I.L.M. 849) and the Kyoto Protocol of 1997, (available at:; the Convention on
Biological Diversity (31 I.L.M. 322); the 1994 Convention to Combat Desertification in Countries
Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification (available at:
4 The Environmental Cooperation Treaty, 1 June 1997, signed by Argentina and Bolivia (passed by Act
24774/97, Argentina); the 1996 Environmental Cooperation Treaty, 9 April 1996, signed by Argentina
and Brazil (passed by Act 24930/97, Argentina); the 1989 Agreement on Evaluation and Control of
Ichthyic Resources and of Waters Quality of Paraná River, 26 April 1989 (available at Ministry of
Foreign Affairs of Argentina, Treaties Section – DM/DT/N.R. 5) signed by Argentina and Paraguay; and
the 1997 Agreement on the Rules Applicable to Control the Waters Quality Control of Uruguay River, 5
November 1997, signed by Argentina and Uruguay (accessible at
Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment Programme for the North-East
Pacific Region (NOWPAP), a Protection Plan signed by the Regional Organisation for
the Protection of the Marine Environment -Kuwait Region (ROPME-KAP), an Action
Plan for the South-East Pacific (SE/PCF), a Conservation Plan for the Marine and
Coastal Areas Environment in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden (RED), an
Environmental Management Plan for the South Pacific Region (SPREP), the
Environmental Programme for the Black Sea (BLACK), the Protection and
Management Plan for the Seas in the South Asian Seas (SAS), the Integrated
Environmental Programme for the Baltic Sea (BALTIC), and the Action Programme
for the North-East Atlantic Region (OSPAR), and programmes for the Antarctic, the
Arctic, the Caspian Sea and for the Northwest Atlantic.
Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay have coastal management plans financed by
international bodies. In contrast with the Regional Seas Programmes, none of these
countries protect the marine environment from LBAs through binding agreements.
From 2002 up to 30 June 2008, Argentina implemented the UNDP ARG 02/018 project,
co-financed by the Global Environmental Fund Facility (GEF). The project includes the
Argentina’s Patagonian coast and involves the Federal Government, the Provinces of
Río Negro, Chubut, Santa Cruz and Tierra del Fuego, Antarctic and South Atlantic
Islands, together with the Argentina Coastal Guard (PNA, in Spanish) and the
Hydrological Naval Service (SHN, in Spanish). As was mentioned above, it is aimed
exclusively at the conservation of the Argentine Patagonian coast. In other words,
nearly 2,000 km of Buenos Aires coastline was excluded from the project, where coastal
strip is expose to the highest anthropic pressure.
Since 1999 Argentina and Uruguay developed the FREPLATA Project
(PNUD/GEF/RLA99/G31, for the Environmental Protection of La Plata River and its
Corresponding Maritime Boundary: Prevention and Control of Pollution and Habitat
Restoration), the origins of which date back to the First Bi-national Argentine-
Uruguayan Meeting – on the Prevention of Pollution along the Maritime Boundary–
called by the Joint Technical Commission for the Maritime Boundary (CTMFM, in
Spanish) in 1993.
The environmental importance of this Project is based on the fact that it covers the
Buenos Aires coast ignored by the PNUD ARG 02/018 project. To the north of this
coast, on the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Area (AMBA), La Plata Basin drains. The
AMBA is a geographical area that groups together the city of Buenos Aires and 32
surrounding Municipalities of the homonymous Province. The AMBA covers less than
1% of the total area of the country, where 12 million people live – some 33% of the
national population. It is also the setting for one of the most important industrial and
petrochemical centres in the country – where 50% of the GDP is generated. There are
more than 100 clandestine dumpsites and the dumping of effluent and pollutants into the
river and its tributaries has little state control.
The FREPLATA Project coexists with the ECOPLATA Project, that begun in 1989
thanks to a General Cooperation Agreement for Development between Uruguay and
Canada. Currently ECOPLATA is in its III stage and its primary objective is to create a
conceptual model for the Integrated Management of the Coastal Areas of La Plata
Brazil initiated the National Coastal Management Plan in 1988, just after endorsing Act
No 7661. Twenty years later, the Ministry of Environment leads an ambitious
management plan for Brazil’s 17 coastal States. Its 8,500 km of coastline – along which
can be found 300 Municipalities – are administered by the Coastal Quality Manager’s
Office, under the supervision of the Ministry through the Integrated Management
Project for Coastal and Marine Environments, within the sphere of the Territorial
Environment Management Programme (PGT, in Portuguese) of the Human Settlement
Environmental Quality Secretariat (SQA in Portuguese). In comparison with Argentina
and Uruguay, the Brazilian coastal programme is far more complete and ambitious as it
includes, among other objectives, the integrated management of the coastline and the
assessment of the potential sustainability of the economic exclusive zone’s resources.
IV Preliminary Conclusions Regarding the Existence of a Corpus Iuris
Aquarum Ambientalis and its Connection with the Protection of the Marine
The synthesis made over the previous pages about the objectives and most relevant
contents of a key select group of environmental rules –national and international–
endorsed by La Plata Basin’s riparian States allows us to conclude that the analogies
greatly surpass the discrepancies. The author has adopted a definition of “discrepancy”
or “asymmetry” to mean those principles or objectives that are only established in one
or two of the five States, then it can be seen that these are reduced to the following
items: (1) the principle of progressivity or graduality (Argentina and Uruguay); (2) the
obligation to create environmental heritage accounts with the aim of measuring the
variations in the natural national heritage (Bolivia); (3) the continuous monitoring of
environmental quality (Bolivia); (4) the protection of the environment against critical
environmental and water events and against the effects of climate change on waters –
particularly flooding and and salinization (Brazil and Paraguay); and (5) the obligation
to protect the ecological flows (Paraguay); and (6) the obligation to guarantee the
human right of access to drinking water (Paraguay and Uruguay).
On the contrary, such is the legal coherence reached over 75 years of common history
that it has of itself acquired the status of a solid Corpus Iuris Aquarum Ambientalis
exhibiting a customary and binding nature (CAPALDO, 2008). The integral features of
this body comprise of the following principles, obligations, rights and objectives: (1)
preservation, protection and conservation of water and natural resources; (2) the right to
social participation in the environmental management processes; (3) the right to
environmental information; (4) the right to environmental education; (5) rational and
equitable use of water and natural resources; (6) the right to sustainable development;
(7) the principle of intergenerational responsibility; (8) the duty to minimise, control
and prevent the pollution of water and the environment; (9) the duty to repair the
damages caused to the environment and the water resources; (10) environmental
territorial planning; (11) responsibility for the damage caused to the environment; (12)
the duty to employ the criterion of unity in the management of water basins; (13)
cooperation and neighbourly relationships among the riparian States; (14) exchange of
data and information among the riparian States; (15) the duty to notify and undertake
consultations prior to any plan, work or action concerning the use of an international
watercourse; (16) the duty to maintain the navigability of the rivers; (17) the principle
of freedom of navigation along international rivers; (18) responsibility of the States for
any damage or threat of damage to the environment through their own activities or
through the activities of physical and legal persons living in their lands; (19) the duty to
avoid any significant transboundary damage; (20) an ecosystemic approach; (21)
peaceful settlement of disputes; and (22) the duty to observe and strengthen all the
environmental treaties in which the riparian States are involved.
This Corpus of principles, obligations, rights and objectives applicable to the
management of natural resources in general and of water resources in particular is an
excellent theoretical and legal framework to develop a common policy among the
Member States of La Plata Basin, and mutatis mutandi of MERCOSUR, to facilitate
integrated regional action, focused on preventing the pollution of the marine
environment from water sources. This action should link the regional level management
with the necessary local level interventions, aiming to avoid the degradation of the
marine environment from water sources.
There are two questions that we are obliged to consider at this stage in the preliminary
conclusions: (1) if the present and near future scenarios have enough environmental
indicators to generate a state of alert over the probable pollution of the marine
environment from La Plata Basin; and (2) whether the political conditions are
favourable to the adoption of a multilateral regional agreement, or, if not, a collection of
obligatory resolutions which prevent the pollution of the marine environment from all
land-based sources, including those of water.
An affirmative answer to both of these questions prevails for the reasons explained
1. The Environmental Situation of La Plata River and its Corresponding
Maritime Boundary
In addition to being the broadest waterbody in Latin America (reaching some 230 km
where it flows into the sea), La Plata River is an almost unique river-marine system in
the world (MÉNDEZ et al, 1997) (see Map 2). Its nature makes it a highly complex
aquatic environment, like, for example, the Estuary and Gulf of Saint Lawrence on
Canada’s Atlantic coast.
There are four river basins that, from the Uruguayan coast, discharge their waters into
La Plata River and its Maritime Boundary.5 One of the main agricultural production
areas of the country lies in these basins, characterised by the indiscriminate use of
fertilisers which are dumped into the Santa Lucía River, as well as agriculture-related
industries. Another part of the coast receives effluents from the textile industry and
tanneries, and by-products from metal recycling. In the coastal area of Carrasco, the
greatest anthropogenic impact comes from tourism, and in Montevideo Bay it comes
from the port and the oil refineries (see Maps 3 and 4).
There is an intricate water network that, from the Argentinean coast, drains its waters
into La Plata River.6 In addition, there are two important municipal and industrial
sewers in Berazategui and Berisso. The anthropogenic environmental pressure comes
from untreated or inadequately treated industrial effluents, sewage, solid waste and oil
spills from ships (see Maps 5 and 6).
Due to the considerable quantity of nutrients (carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus) that are
discharged into La Plata River, the toxic phytoplankton are expanding (BRAZEIRO et
al, 1994, a,b,c). Among the inorganic pollutants, high levels of mercury have been
measured, and also base levels of cadmium, lead, chromium, zinc and copper
(MOYANO et al, 1992). As regards organic pollutants, traces of chlorinated pesticides
associated with water and materials in suspension have been detected in La Plata and
Uruguay Rivers (JANIOT and ROSES, 1990, 1992).
According to the results of the workshop held in Colonia Suiza, Uruguay, on 27 May
2004, on “Presentation and Discussion of the Document addressing the Transboundary
Diagnostic Analysis (TDA) for La Plata River and its Maritime Boundary” (see Charts
1 and 2), the various environmental impacts to which the River, its coasts and its
Maritime Boundary are subjected, will strongly and negatively affect its uses and
services in the medium term (+ 25 years) and long term (+ 50 years). The multidiscipline
studies “[…] suggest that the magnitude of the negative impacts on the system
5 These are: Santa Lucía River, Pantanoso Brook, Miguelete Brook, and Carrasco Brook.
6 These are: Luján River; Medrano, Vega, White, Maldonado, Riachuelo, las Perdices, las Piedras, San
Francisco, Giménez, las Conchitas, Pereyra, Martín, Carnaval, Rodríguez, and la Guardia Brooks; the
Sarandí, Santo Domingo and Villa Elisa drainage canals; the basin of Santiago River; the East and West
canals and the Andaluza gully in the Magdalena district.
could in the long term (+ 50 years) be double the current value. This “vision” of a
possible future refers to development without taking any measures to prevent and
mitigate these environmental impacts” (PNUD/GEF-RLA/99/G31 PROJECT, Technical
Document, 2005). If they are grouped together in order of importance, these negative
impacts will mean: (1) increase in risk of dumping and spills; (2) increase in population
pressure on coastal areas; (3) increase in the volume (and changes in the composition)
of agro-industrial waste; (4) change in flow of tributary rivers (due to climate change
effects); (5) increase in volume of waste (in particular in urban effluent); (6) increase in
volume of waste (in particular in solid waste); (7) increase in economic pressure on
coastal areas; (8) risk of over-exploitation of fishing resources; (9) invasion by exotic
species through dumping of ballast waters by boats and “anti-fouling” paints; (10)
increase in dredging; and (11) increase in sea level.
It is necessary to conclude that the doubling in size of these impacts produced by water
sources between now and 50 years time will not just have a negative impact on the
transitional zone between freshwater and seawater ecosystems, but also additionally on
the marine environment that is the recipient of the river water (see Map 7). Given this
future scenario of adverse environmental impacts, the development of legal frameworks
to complement those currently available is a strategy to be taken into account.
2. Favourable/Unfavourable Legal Context
La Plata Basin Treaty empowers the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the State members
to adopt decisions (by a unanimous vote) to devise basic guidelines for a common
policy, as well as to adopt the necessary measures to fulfil the Treaty and its objectives
(article 2). One of these objectives is the preservation of natural resources in the region
(Preamble). It also entrusts the CIC with the task of executing the decisions taken at the
Ministers meeting (article 3). Last but not least, nothing prevents the Contracting
Parties from adopting specific or partial, bilateral or multilateral agreements, in order to
reach the general objectives of the framework agreement (article 6). The HIDROVIA
Treaty and the bilateral Treaty of La Plata River and its Maritime Boundary are
examples of this.
Consequently, there are no reasons for not adopting another specific treaty aimed at
preserving and preventing the pollution of the marine environment from the Basin. This
would not alter the spatial scope of the agreement at all, by extending it out of its
delimitation since its main objective is to foster the harmonious development and
physical integration of the Basin, as well as those areas which directly and considerably
affect it (article 1). The sea adjacent to the river is one of these.
The Treaty of La Plata River and its Maritime Boundary plays a key role here since La
Plata River is the last segment of La Plata Basin and, therefore, the section through
which the whole watershed flows out into the Atlantic. Its agencies are the
Administrative Commission (articles 59 to 67), the Secretary (art. 61), and the Joint
Technical Commission (articles 80 and 84). One of the key legislative purposes of the
Administrative Commission is to lay down rules for fishing in relation to the
conservation and preservation of living resources (article 66.b), while the Joint
Technical Commission is entrusted to harmonise the Parties’ legislation on matters
within the jurisdiction of the Commission (article 82. f). Among such mater is the
prevention and elimination of pollution (article 82.d). In other words, the legislative
jurisdictions of both agencies are limited to specific topics. This kind of capitis
diminutio can be circumvented thanks to articles 66.j and 82.h which grant both
Commissions not just the task of fulfilling the other functions that the Parties assign
them in their Statutes but also to do so by means of the exchange of instruments
constituting a treaty, or other kind of agreements. In these cases, and always in the light
of the Treaty’s object and purpose, the Commissions can adopt mandatory resolutions,
which become binding, for example, by way of the exchange of instruments constituting
a treaty. Some of these resolutions could regulate the prevention of marine pollution
from La Plata Basin.
V. Conclusions and Final Recommendations
This paper has briefly described the environmental synergy between the freshwater
courses and the sea. Multi-disciplinary research demonstrates how significant the
pollution of La Plata Basin is, and more specifically the area in which it flows into the
Atlantic Ocean through La Plata River. Scientific data affirms that our estuary is a
“fluvial-marine system” that must be preserved due to its uniqueness in the global
The analysis of the domestic, regional, and international legal context applicable to the
riparians reveals that Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, have a broad
spectrum of principles, rights, obligations and objectives in common. Such is the
degree of consistency that it upholds the existence of a solid Corpus Iuris Aquarum
Ambientalis shared by the five riparian States (four of them, are also members of
MERCOSUR). This leads to the assertion that such a Corpus is not just applicable to
La Plata Basin but also to the Amazon, which is the other main river basin in the
The decision-making process established by La Plata Basin Treaty and the Treaty of La
Plata River and its Maritime Boundary was also examined. Additionally, the South
Atlantic is still not among the regional seas programmes overseen by UNEP covering
almost the whole planet.
Due to and based on the previous reasoning, the author believes that the legal regional
context is the best possible for endorsing new commitments addressing the protection of
marine areas from LBAs.
To fulfil this objective, the above-mentioned countries have two choices, one which is
optimal (maximum) and the second which is imperfect (minimum).
1. Optimal or Maximum Strategy
It would be worthy if the States were to adopt a special treaty for the South Atlantic,
relating to the prevention of marine pollution from land-based sources – including,
above all, water sources. This treaty should contemplate the principles and actions
already present in all the UNEP-Regional Seas Programmes, but additionally – because
of its consistency – those that have been adopted and implemented by Argentina,
Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay over the last 75 years. The advantages of such a
treaty are: (1) to have a programme to prevent marine pollution in a region (the South
Atlantic) that still has no regional legal policies or frameworks; (2) this programme
should include a special chapter devoted to the prevention of marine pollution from
water sources; (3) the chapter should also echo the rich mosaic of legal precepts integral
to the Corpus Iuris Aquarum Ambientalis described above. Namely, the programme
should welcome those principles and actions sufficiently consolidated by the region not
only about water but also concerning the environment; and (4) the programme would
not only provide environmental regulation for a geographical area previously lacking
such regulation but also unify the regulation of activities affecting the environment
along the 16,800 km of coastline of Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina.
2. Imperfect or Minimum Strategy
In case there is no political will to negotiate such a treaty the States have another less
ambitious option which consists of adopting a binding resolution for La Plata Basin’s
riparian States, with the aim to take specific actions to control and prevent the
degradation of the marine environment from water sources.
The disadvantage of the adoption of the minimum option is that the resolution could not
be extended to other water basins in the riparian States of La Plata Basin which also, to
a great extent, flow out into the Atlantic.
To facilitate the adoption of the resolution in the current legal framework governing La
Plata Basin, the following prior steps would need to be taken: (1) the power of the CIC
under article 3 of La Plata Basin Treaty to execute the decisions adopted at the Meetings
of Foreign Ministers would need to be utilised; (2) articles 66.j and 82.h of the Treaty of
La Plata River and its Maritime Front would need also to be utilised. These articles
empower the Administrative Commission and the Joint Technical Commission to adopt
compulsory type resolutions regarding matters dealt with by the Treaty, which include
the prevention and elimination of pollution (article 82.d). These powers should be
utilised to adopt regulations for the prevention of marine pollution; and (3) coordination
of the actions of the two Commissions of the Treaty of La Plata Treaty and its Maritime
Front with those of the CIC, so that the CIC can execute the decisions adopted at the
Meetings of Foreign Ministries and create binding obligations on the Riparian States of
La Plata Basin. These decisions must consider that the pollution of La Plata River and
its coastline is not just a consequence of the actions of two countries (Argentina and
Uruguay), whose coasts are bathed by the River directly before it flows into the
Atlantic, but also by the actions of the upstream States (Bolivia, Brazil and Paraguay).
Coordination between the CIC and the other Commissions is indispensable and urgent.
It is incomprehensible that this has yet to be achieved – despite almost 40 years having
passed since the signing of La Plata Basin Treaty in 1969. The lack of coordination is
one of the most serious issues relating to the transboundary governance of La Plata
In summary, the procedural, operative and spatial limitations described above
demonstrate the supremacy of the optimal, or maximum strategy. The legal and
political advantages of adopting this initial option are compelling.
ALLENDE, Guillermo (1971). Derecho de aguas. Buenos Aires, ed. EUDEBA.
BRAZEIRO, A, et al (1994, a). Environmental factors associated with a toxic bloom of
Alexandrium tamarensis in the Uruguayan coast. Unpublished paper, National Fishing
Institute, Montevideo, 22 pp.
BRAZEIRO, A, et al (1994, b). Florecimiento tóxico de Alexandrium tamarensis
asociado a la presencia de un sistema de frente (Uruguay). Abstract of poster paper.
BRAZEIRO, A, et al (1994, c). Florecimientos tóxicos de Gymnodinium catenatum en
Uruguay. Abstract of poster paper.
CAPALDO, Griselda (2003). “South American Paraná-Paraguay Waterway
(HIDROVIA). An Environmental Diagnosis and prognosis”, Yearbook of International
Environmental Law, (Volume 14-2003), Oxford University Press, pages 185-210.
CAPALDO, Griselda (2008). “The Rio de la Plata Basin: is there a Corpus Iuris
Aquarum Ambientalis applicable to the pulp mills case on the Uruguay River?” History
of Water Law Book, Springer (in process of publication).
DEL CARPIO, Fernando (2005), “Legislación nacional sobre aguas”, chapter of the
book Política exterior en materia de recursos hídricos, pages 127-144, La Paz-Bolivia,
FREPLATA, PROYECTO PNUD/GEF-RLA/99/G31, Documento Técnico (2005).
Análisis diagnóstico transfronterizo del Río de la Plata y su Frente Marítimo.
Montevideo, 312 pages
JANIOT, L.J. and ROSES, D.E. (1992). Distribución de pesticidas clorados entre agua
y material en suspensión en el Río de la Plata. pages 101-108. UNESCO and IOC
(COI) editors.
KURUCZ, Américo, et al. (1997). Chapter 3 of the book: “The Río de la Plata. An
Environmental Overview”, pages. 71-86, Nova Scotia, CIID-UNESCO.
MÉNDEZ, Silvia et al (1997). Chapter 4 of the book: “The Río de la Plata. An
Environmental Overview”, pages 87-116, Nova Scotia, CIID-UNESCO.
MENÉNDEZ, A. N. – RE, M. (2005), “Hidrología del Río de la Plata”, chapter of the
book El cambio climático en el Río de la Plata, pages 69-83, Buenos Aires, CIMACONICET.
MOYANO, M. et al (1992). Diagnóstico primario de la contaminación química en las
costas de Montevideo; pages 93-99. UNESCO and IOC (COI) editors.
MOSTO, Gustavo: Producción urbana, in Atlas Ambiental de Buenos Aires, available
&id=303&Itemid=145&lang=es (visited on 02-04-08).
PÍREZ, Pedro: Gestión, in Atlas Ambiental de Buenos Aires, available at:
&id=34&Itemid=161&lang=es (visited on 02-04-08).
Acuerdo de 1992 de Santa Cruz de la Sierra de Transporte Fluvial por la Hidrovía
Paraguay-Paraná (1992 Santa Cruz de la Sierra Agreement on Water Transport along
the Waterway), signed in Valle de las Leñas, 26 June 1992, approved by Act 24385/94
(Argentina, Official Gazette 21 November 1994). Together with the Agreement six
Additional Protocols were signed, and approved by the above mentioned Act. (It can be
accessed at
Acta de Santa Cruz de la Sierra, 20 Mayo 1968 (20 May 1968, Santa Cruz de la Sierra
document), in Tratados y documentos internacionales, ed. Zavalía, Buenos Aires 1993,
p.655. It was unanimously adopted by Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, and
Declaración de Montevideo de 1933, Resolución 72 – Organización de Estados
Americanos (1933 Montevideo Declaration, Resolution 72 – Organisation of American
States) – OEA/ Treaty Series A-40.
Declaración de Asunción sobre la Utilización de Ríos Internacionales, 3 Junio 1971 (3
June 1971 Asunción Declaration on the Use of International Rivers), available at
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Argentina, Treaties Section – Leg. 754. It was
unanimously adopted by Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay.
Tratado de la Cuenca del Plata (River Plate Basin Treaty), Brasilia, 23 April 1969,
U.N.T.S. 1973 No. 12.550. It was put into practice on 14 August 1970.
UNEP (OCA)/LAB/IG.2/7, 5 Diciembre 1995, referido al Programa Global de Acción
para la Protección del Ambiente Marino desde fuentes terrestres (5 December 1995
referring to Global Action Programme for the Protection of the Marine Environment
from land-based sources).
AMBA (Área Metropolitana Buenos Aires [Buenos Aires Metropolitan Area])
CIC (Comité Intergubernamental Coordinador de la Cuenca del Plata
[Intergovernmental Coordinating Committee for La Plata Basin])
GEF (Global Environmental Fund Facility)
GESAMP (Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental
GPA (Global Programme of Action)
ICARM (Integrated Coastal Area and River Basin Management)
NPA (National Programmes of Action)
PADH (Physical Alteration and Destruction of Habitats)
PNUD (Programa de Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo [United Nations Programme
for Development])
PGT (Programa de Gerenciamento Ambiental Territorial, Brasil [Territorial
Environmental Management Programme, Brazil])
SAP Wastewater (Strategic Action Plan on Municipal Wastewater)
SQA (Secretaría de Calidad Ambiental en los Asentamientos Humanos, Brasil Human
Settlement Environmental Quality Secretariat, Brazil])
UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme)
[Griselda – I will have to have these maps and charts translated and get back to
you, sorry]