10 Geo. Int'l Envtl. L. Rev. 257 (1997-1998)
Responsibility and Liability for Environmental Damage: A Roadmap for International Environmental Regimes

handle is hein.journals/gintenlr10 and id is 265 raw text is: Responsibility and Liability for Environmental
Damage: A Roadmap for International
Environmental Regimes
Since the emergence of international environmental law, the international
community has faced two main challenges. States and other actors had to learn,
first, how to achieve consensus on substantive standards and, second, how to
achieve compliance with them. Early on, delegates to the 1972 United Nations
Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment focused on setting substan-
tive standards, leaving the international responsibility and liability of states and
other actors for environmental damage as unfinished business. The Stockholm
delegates nevertheless acknowledged the importance of these issues and urged
states to develop international legal principles in this area.'
With practice, states have vastly improved and streamlined the treaty-making
process. As a result, consensus can now be achieved relatively quickly and easily
on many issues., Unfortunately, the international community has had more
difficulty meeting its second challenge. Effective liability and responsibility
mechanisms have remained an elusive goal. Indeed, almost a decade after the
Stockholm Conference, GUnther Handl asked whether we can say that progress
has been made in the sense of rendering the interrelated notions of state
responsibility, liability, and duty of compensation truly operational?2 At that
time, little progress had been made.
Fortunately today, twenty-five years after the Stockholm Conference, the
international community has made greater headway. The International Law
Institute has drafted a comprehensive set of guidelines to help international
environmental regimes handle questions of liability and responsibility for envi-
ronmental damage. This note discusses Responsibility and Liability under Inter-
national Law for Environmental Damage,4 a resolution adopted on September 4,
1. States shall cooperate to develop further international law regarding liability and compensation for the
victims of pollution and other environmental damage caused by activities within the jurisdiction or control of
such States to areas beyond their jurisdiction. Declaration of the United Nations on the Human Environment,
June 16, 1972, Principle 22, 11 I.L.M. 1416, 1420.
2. Gtlnther Handl, The Environment. International Rights and Responsibilities, 74 AM. J. Im'L L. 223
3. Id.
4. Responsibility and Liability under International Law for Environmental Damage, Institute of Interna-
tional Law, Strasbourg Sess., Sept. 4, 1997, (Francisco Orrego Vicufla, rapporteur) (hereinafter Resolution).

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