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Convention on civil liability for damage resulting from activities dangerous to the environment

Document type
Field of application
Jun 21, 1993
IUCN (ID: TRE-001166)
Title (French)

Convention sur la responsabilité civile des dommages résultant d'activités dangereuses pour l'environnement

Title (Other)

Konvention über die Zivilrechliche Haftung für Schäden aus umweltgefährdenden Tätigkeiten

Place of adoption
COE Council of Europe
English, French
Environment gen., Waste & hazardous substances
Hazardous waste Legal proceedings/administrative proceedings GMO Access-to-information Policy/planning Hazardous substances Enforcement/compliance Liability/compensation Transport/storage NGO Waste disposal Jurisdictional competence

Objectives: To ensure adequate compensation for damage resulting from activities dangerous to the environment and provide for means of prevention and reinstatement.

Summary of provisions: Article 2.1 defines dangerous activity to cover various activities performed professionally and associated with dangerous substances, genetically modified organisms, micro-organisms or wastes (art. 2.1). The Convention imposes liability on the operator of a dangerous activity for the damage caused by the activity as a result of incidents at the time or during the period when he was exercising the control of that activity (art. 6.1) and on the operator of a site for the permanent deposit of waste, at the time when damage caused by waste deposited at that site becomes known (art. 7.1). The Convention exempts the operator from liability for damages in certain circumstances, such as an act of war or natural disaster or pollution at tolerable levels under local relevant circumstances (art. 8). It contains provisions giving due consideration to the fault of the person who suffered the damage, the causal link between the incident and the damage, and circumstances where several installations or several sites are involved in incidents (arts. 9, 10 and 11).

Each Party undertakes to ensure that operators conducting a dangerous activity on its territory be required to participate in a financial security scheme or to have and maintain a financial guarantee to cover the 1iability under the Convention (art. 12). The Convention provides a right of public access to information relating to the environment held by public authorities or by bodies with public responsibilities for the environment (arts. 14 and 15). It further enables persons concerned to request the court to order access to specific information held by an operator if this is necessary to establish the existence of a claim for compensation or the extent of an operator's liability (art. 16.1 and 16.2). Actions for compensation and other claims are limited in time (art. 17.2). Non- governmental environmental organizations may request the prohibition of an unlawful dangerous activity posing a grave threat of damage to the environment or seek orders requiring operators to carry out preventative or reinstatement measures (art. 18). Actions for compensation under the Convention may only be brought within a Party at the court of place where the damage was suffered; the dangerous activity was conducted or the defendant has his habitual residence (art. 19.1).

Institutional mechanisms: A Standing Committee is established to keep under review problems relating to the Convention (arts. 26 and 27).

(Source: IUCN ELC, 08.2005, based on UNEP Register of International Treaties and Other Agreements in the Field of the Environment, 1996)

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