Tackling pollution of the Mediterranean Sea from land-based sources by an integrated ecosystem approach and the use of the combined international and European legal regimes


  • Antoinette Hildering
  • Andrea M. Keessen
  • Helena F.M.W. van Rijswick


The successful protection of marine and freshwater areas and ecosystems, including specially protected areas, is highly dependent on the effectiveness of an integrated approach to prevent and combat land-based pollution. Several legal regimes have been developed to regulate and solve this kind of pollution on the international level as well as on the European level. Therefore, this integrated approach requires coherence between European and international legal regimes and between the regulation of freshwater and the seas. An effective legal regime should provide clear goals and clear responsibilities and take into account the relevant impacts and pressures and the transboundary elements of the action against pollution of the sea from land-based source areas, and therefore respond to the need for cooperation between states and the need for an integrated approach to regulate all impacts and pressures that could influence the goals and targets for the specific protected areas. Integrated programmes of measures are necessary and so are arrangements for cooperation and dispute settlement. The protection of the Mediterranean Sea is taken as an example of the integrated ecosystem approach to protect marine regions. The article focuses on pollution caused by land-based sources. The combined rights and obligations under EU law and international law – in particular the Barcelona Convention – are discussed, as well as the required integrated approach towards the marine environment. Existing legal protection regimes for marine regions and river basin catchment areas in both international and European law are analyzed in order to identify the promises and challenges for a coherent legal regime.


protection of marine regionsecosystem approachriver basin managementpollution from land-based sourcesinternational and European environmental and water law
  • Page/Article: 80-100
  • DOI: 10.18352/ulr.96
  • Published on 11 Jun 2009