I have been given the honour to speak on behalf of the five Nordic countries, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and Norway, on the draft principles on the allocation of loss arising out of hazardous activities.
First of all, we would like to congratulate the Commission on its work and the finalization of the topic that in various forms has been on the Commissions agenda for so long.
We find that the draft principles are an important accomplishment in the development of international law in relation to civil liability. They provide a supplement to State Responsibility for damage to particularly the environment of other States and areas beyond the limits of national jurisdiction, as well as a supplement to the rules aimed at prevention.
Liability rules can play an important role both for compensation to the victims and in providing an incentive for prevention of damage.
A number of multilateral legal instruments, including multilateral environmental agreements, have provisions that envisage the establishment of further rules on liability. The draft principles provide a minimum standard that should be taken into account when developing such rules.
At this stage it is important to remind ourselves that, the principles are general in nature and that an effective implementation warrants detailed rules and regulation, both nationally and internationally.
For the Commission it would have indeed been quite difficult to proceed much further than it has done. Thus, further cooperation between States in various fora is necessary and should be encouraged.
In relation to the specific principles, we would like to underline the importance of the polluter pays principle as guidance for the implementation of draft principle 4.
This core principle is also relevant when applying the threshold of significant damage, as set out in draft principle 2. This term provides for a dynamic standard, and should be interpreted taking into account the scientific development, the precautionary principle and the development of international environmental law.
While we still would have preferred an even lower threshold than "significant" damage in principle 2, we are pleased that the Commission has not accepted proposals for a higher threshold than “significant” .
Let me reiterate that the principles supplement the responsibility of States, but do not in any way replace or reduce the responsibility of the State under applicable international law.
Subject to this understanding, we welcome the Commission's recommendation to the General Assembly to endorse the draft principles by way of a resolution and encourage the speedy implementation of the principles in accordance with draft principle 8 .
Furthermore, we recall our proposal last year that the draft instrument on the Prevention of Transboundary Harm from Hazardous Activities should be adopted in conjunction with the adoption of the liability principles.
Finally, we reiterate our appreciation for the Commission's work on the draft principles.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman