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61. U.S. statement to Sixth Committee on transboundary harm

Agenda Item 84: Consideration of Prevention of Transboundary Harm from Hazardous Activities and Allocation of Loss in the Case of Such Harm.

The United States welcomes the completion of the ILC’s work on the prevention of transboundary harm and the allocation of loss from such harm.

As we stated last year, we believe that the principles on allocation of loss are a positive step toward encouraging states to establish mechanisms to provide prompt and adequate compensation for victims of transboundary harm. They incorporate progressive ideas such as the responsibility of operators, the desirability of backup financial security measures, the importance of prompt response measures, and broad concepts of compensable harm. They also stress the importance of national, bilateral, regional and sectoral arrangements to carry out these ideas.

Similarly, we believe that the draft articles on prevention are a positive step toward encouraging states to establish mechanisms to address such issues as notification in specific national and international contexts.

We continue to believe, however, that both the draft articles and draft principles go beyond the present state of international law and practice. It is therefore appropriate that the principles take the form of non-binding standards of conduct and practice and that the work on prevention was formulated as draft articles. We believe that both documents were designed to encourage national and international action in specific contexts, rather than form the basis of a global treaty. Thus, the United States opposes any efforts to reflect the draft principles on allocation of loss as mandatory or to convert them into a draft convention. For the same reasons, the United States opposes the elaboration of a global convention on prevention of transboundary harm.

In sum, the United States believes that the General Assembly should take note of the work on these topics and encourage states to use the articles and principles in context specific situations.


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