Legal regime of the Rio de la Plata

  • Laborde L
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Abstract

This article describes the present legal regime applicable to the Rio
de la Plata, the wide river shared by Argentina and Uruguay. The Plata,
which drains an extensive basin covering much of Argentina, Uruguay,
Paraguay, Bolivia and southern Brazil, is an important gateway for
trade with the interior of the South American continent. The article
discusses some of the issues surrounding the exact nature of this body
of water and the consequences and present status of the question under
international law. The article traces some of the geo-political
interests which have historically shaped the diplomatic and legal
practices of the riparian states, Argentina and Uruguay, up to the
signing of the 1973 Treaty creating a special regime for the Rio de la
Plata. This comprehensive agreement, the Treaty of the Rio de la Plata
and its corresponding Maritime Boundary, lays the framework for
regulating most human activities taking place in the river, in addition
to resolving the thorny questions arising from the exercise of each
State's respective jurisdiction. The respective powers of the riparians
are analyzed for each of the different areas and zones into which the
river is apportioned, as well as the attributions which may be
exercised by either State in the zones of exclusive jurisdiction and in
the so called common zone. Issues such as pollution prevention,
pilotage, scientific research, fishing, navigation, works and rescue
operations are comprehensively described. The article concludes by
portraying recent developments concerning the upgrading and
modernization of the Plata's infrastructure for navigational purposes
in the context of the regional trend toward privatization and
deregulation.

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Authors

  • L D C Laborde

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