1. Convention on the prohibition of military or any other hostile use of environmental modification techniques

New York, 10 December 1976.

 

Entry into force: 5 October 1978, in accordance with article IX (3).
Registration: 5 October 1978, No. 17119.
Status: Signatories: 48 ,Parties: 65.
TEXT: United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1108, p. 151 and depositary notification C.N.263.1978.TREATIES-12 of 27 October 1978 (rectification of the English text). 

Note: The Convention was approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its resolution 31-72 1 of 10 December 1976. In application of paragraph 2 of the said resolution, the Secretary-General decided to open the Convention for signature and ratification by States from 18 to 31 May 1977 at Geneva, Switzerland. Subsequently, the Convention was transmitted to the Head quarters of the Organization of the United Nations, where it was open for signature by States until 4 October 1978.

 

 

PARTICIPANTS


Participant  Signature  Ratification, Accession (a), Succession (d) 
Afghanistan    22 Oct 1985 a 
Algeria    19 Dec 1991 a 
Antigua and Barbuda    25 Oct 1988 d 
Argentina    20 Mar 1987 a 
Australia  31 May 1978  7 Sep 1984 
Austria    17 Jan 1990 a 
Bangladesh    3 Oct 1979 a 
Belarus  18 May 1977  7 Jun 1978 
Belgium  18 May 1977  12 Jul 1982 
Benin  10 Jun 1977  30 Jun 1986 
Bolivia  18 May 1977   
Brazil  9 Nov 1977  12 Oct 1984 
Bulgaria  18 May 1977  31 May 1978 
Canada  18 May 1977  11 Jun 1981 
Cape Verde    3 Oct 1979 a 
Chile    26 Apr 1994 a 
Costa Rica    7 Feb 1996 a 
Cuba  23 Sep 1977  10 Apr 1978 
Cyprus  7 Oct 1977  12 Apr 1978 
Czech Republic 2    22 Feb 1993 d 
Democratic People's Republic of Korea    8 Nov 1984 a 
Democratic Republic of the Congo  28 Feb 1978   
Denmark  18 May 1977  19 Apr 1978 
Dominica    9 Nov 1992 d 
Egypt    1 Apr 1982 a 
Ethiopia  18 May 1977   
Finland  18 May 1977  12 May 1978 
Germany 3,4  18 May 1977  24 May 1983 
Ghana  21 Mar 1978  22 Jun 1978 
Greece    23 Aug 1983 a 
Guatemala    21 Mar 1988 a 
Holy See  27 May 1977   
Hungary  18 May 1977  19 Apr 1978 
Iceland  18 May 1977   
India  15 Dec 1977  15 Dec 1978 
Iran (Islamic Republic of)  18 May 1977   
Iraq  15 Aug 1977   
Ireland  18 May 1977  16 Dec 1982 
Italy  18 May 1977  27 Nov 1981 
Japan    9 Jun 1982 a 
Kuwait    2 Jan 1980 a 
Lao People's Democratic Republic  13 Apr 1978  5 Oct 1978 
Lebanon  18 May 1977   
Liberia  18 May 1977   
Luxembourg  18 May 1977   
Malawi    5 Oct 1978 a 
Mauritius    9 Dec 1992 a 
Mongolia  18 May 1977  19 May 1978 
Morocco  18 May 1977   
Netherlands 5  18 May 1977  15 Apr 1983 
New Zealand 6    7 Sep 1984 a 
Nicaragua  11 Aug 1977   
Niger    17 Feb 1993 a 
Norway  18 May 1977  15 Feb 1979 
Pakistan    27 Feb 1986 a 
Papua New Guinea    28 Oct 1980 a 
Poland  18 May 1977  8 Jun 1978 
Portugal  18 May 1977   
Republic of Korea    2 Dec 1986 a 
Romania  18 May 1977  6 May 1983 
Russian Federation  18 May 1977  30 May 1978 
Saint Lucia    28 May 1993 d 
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines    27 Apr 1999 d 
Sao Tome and Principe    5 Oct 1979 a 
Sierra Leone  12 Apr 1978   
Slovakia 2    28 May 1993 d 
Solomon Islands    19 Jun 1981 d 
Spain  18 May 1977  19 Jul 1978 
Sri Lanka  8 Jun 1977  25 Apr 1978 
Sweden    27 Apr 1984 a 
Switzerland    5 Aug 1988 a 
Syrian Arab Republic  4 Aug 1977   
Tunisia  11 May 1978  11 May 1978 
Turkey  18 May 1977   
Uganda  18 May 1977   
Ukraine  18 May 1977  13 Jun 1978 
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland  18 May 1977  16 May 1978 
United States of America  18 May 1977  17 Jan 1980 
Uruguay    16 Sep 1993 a 
Uzbekistan    26 May 1993 a 
Viet Nam    26 Aug 1980 a 
Yemen 7  18 May 1977  20 Jul 1977 a 
 

 

DECLARATIONS


Declarations and Reservations

(Unless otherwise indicated, the declarations and reservations were made

upon ratification, accession or succession.)

Argentina 8

The Argentine Republic interprets the terms "widespread, long-lasting or severe effects" in article I, paragraph 1, of the Convention in accordance with the definitions agreed upon in the understanding on that article. It likewise interprets articles II, III and VIII in accordance with the relevant understandings.

Austria

Reservation:

"Considering the obligations resulting from its status as a permanently neutral state, the Republic of Austria declares a reservation to the effect that its co-operation within the frame work of this Convention cannot exceed the limits determined by the Status of permanent neutrality and membership with the United Nations."

Germany 3

Upon signature:

"With the proviso that the correct designation of the Federal Republic of Germany in the Russian language is `Federativnuju Respubliku Germaniju'."

16 June 1977

"The correct designation of the Federal Republic of Germany in the Russian language following the preposition `sa' in the Russian text was spelled out in the afore-mentioned proviso as `Federativnuju Respubliku Germaniju'."

Guatemala

Reservation:

Guatemala accepts the text of article III, on condition that the use of environmental modification techniques for peaceful purposes does not adversely affect its territory or the use of its natural resources.

Kuwait 9

Reservation:

This Convention binds the State of Kuwait only towards States Parties thereto. Its obligatory character shall ipso facto terminate with respect to any hostile state which does not abide by the prohibition contained therein.

Understanding:

"It is understood that accession to the Convention on the Prohibition of Military or any other hostile use of Environmental Modification Techniques, done in Geneva, 1977, does not mean in any way recognition of Israel by the State of Kuwait. Furthermore, no treaty relation will arise between the State of Kuwait and Israel."

Netherlands

Declaration:

"The Kingdom of the Netherlands accepts the obligations laid down in article 1 of the said Convention as extending to states which are not a party to the Convention and which act in conformity with article 1 of the Convention."

New Zealand

"The Government of New Zealand hereby declares its interpretation that nothing in the Convention detracts from or limits the obligations of States to refrain from military or any other hostile use of environmental modification techniques which are contrary to international law".

Republic of Korea

"It is the understanding of the Government of the Republic of Korea that any technique for deliberately changing the natural state of rivers falls within the meaning of the term ‘environmental modification techniques' as defined in article II of the Convention.

"It is further understood that military or any other hostile use of such techniques, which could cause flooding, inundation, reduction in the water-level, drying up, destruction of hydrotechnical installations or other harmful consequences, comes within the scope of the Convention, provided it meets the criteria set out in article I therefore."

Switzerland

Because of the obligation incumbent upon it by virtue of its status of perpetual neutrality, Switzerland must make a general reservation specifying that its co-operation in the framework of this Convention cannot go beyond the limits imposed by this status. This reservation refers, in particular, to article V, paragraph 5, of the Convention, and to any similar clause which may replace or supplement this provision in the Convention (or in any other arrangement).

Turkey

Upon signature:

Interpretative statement:

"In the opinion of the Turkish Government the terms ‘wide- spread', ‘long lasting' and ‘severe effects' contained in the Con- vention need to be clearly defined. So long as this clarification is not made the Government of Turkey will be compelled to in- terpret itself the terms in question and consequently it reserves the right to do so as and when required.

"Furthermore, the Government of Turkey believes that the difference between `military or any other hostile purposes' and `peaceful purposes' should be more clearly defined so as to pre- vent subjective evaluations."

Territorial Application

Participant  Date of receipt of the notification  Territories 
United Kingdom 10  16 May 1978  Associated States (Antigua, Dominica, St. Kitts Nevis-Anguilla, St. Lucia and St. Vincent), Territories under the territorial sovereignty of the United Kingdom, the Solomon Islands, State of Brunei, United Kingdom Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia in the island of Cyprus 
 

 

NOTES


1. Official Records of the General Assembly, Thirty-first Session, Supplement No. 39 (A-31-39), p. 36.


2. Czechoslovakia had signed and ratified the Convention on 18 May 1977 and 12 May 1978, respectively. See also note 11 in chapter I.2.


3. The German Democratic Republic had signed and ratified the Convention on 18 May 1977 and 25 May 1978, respectively. See also note 14 in chapter I.2.


4. With effect from the day on which the Convention enters into force for the Federal Republic of Germany it shall also apply to Berlin (West) subject to the rights and responsibilities of the French Republic, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America including those relating to disarmament and demilitarization.

In this regard, the Secretary-General received on the dates indicated, the following communications:

Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (5 December 1983):

The declaration by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany that the application of the Convention on the Prohibition of Military or Any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques extends to Berlin (West) is illegal. The aforesaid Convention, in all of its substance, directly affects agreements and arrangements whose application the Federal Republic of Germany, in accordance with the Quadripartite Agreement of 3 September 1971, has no right to extend to Berlin (West).

The stipulation contained in the declaration of the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany to the effect that the Convention shall also apply to Berlin (West), subject to the rights and responsibilities of the French Republic, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America, including those relating to disarmament and demilitarization is pointless, since all the main provisions of the Convention relate to questions of disarmament and demilitarization. This stipulation is intended merely to mask the illegality of the declaration made by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany, which is nothing but a flagrant violation of the Quadripartite Agreement and cannot, of course, have any legal force.

As is known, the relevant Allied provisions relating to demilitarization, which were confirmed upon the signature of the Quadripartite Agreement and the responsibility for whose practical observance lies with the authorities of France, United Kingdom and the United States, still remain in force in Berlin (West). This, of course, inevitably includes questions relating to the prohibition of the military use of environmental modification techniques.

A communication, identical in essence, mutatis mutandis, was received on 23 January 1984 by the Secretary-General from the Government of the German Democratic Republic.

France, the United Kingdom and the United States of America (2 July 1984):

"In a communication to the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, which is an integral part (Annex IV A) of the Quadripartite Agreement of 3 September 1971, the Governments of France, the United Kingdom and the United States, without prejudice to the maintenance of their rights and responsibilities relating to the representation abroad of the interests of the western sectors of Berlin, confirmed that, provided that matters of security and status are not affected and provided that the extension is specified in each case, international agreements and arrangements entered into by the Federal Republic of Germany may be extended to the western sectors of Berlin in accordance with established procedures. For its part, the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, in a communication to the Governments of the three powers which is similarly an integral part (Annex IV B) of the Quadripartite Agreement, affirmed that it would raise no objections to such extension.

The established procedures referred to above, which were endorsed in the Quadripartite Agreement, are designed inter alia to afford the authorities of the three powers the opportunity to ensure that international agreements and arrangements entered into by the Federal Republic of Germany which are to be extended to the western sectors of Berlin are extended in such a way that matters of security and status are not affected.

When authorizing the extension of the Convention on the Prohibition of Military or Any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques to the western sectors of Berlin, the authorities of the three powers took such steps as were necessary to ensure that matters of security and status were not affected. Accordingly, the Berlin declaration made by the Federal Republic of Germany in accordance with established procedures is valid and the Convention applies to the western sectors of Berlin, subject to Allied Rights and Responsibilities, including those in the Area of Disarmament and Demilitarization.

The three Governments wish further to recall that Quadripartite Legislation on Demilitarization applies to the whole of Greater Berlin.

With reference to the communication received on 23 January 1984 from the Government of the German Democratic Republic (. . .), the three Governments wish to point out that States which are not parties to the Quadripartite Agreement of 3 September 1971 are not competent to comment authoritatively on its provisions. They do not consider it necessary, and do not intend, to respond to further communication on this matter from States which are not parties to the Quadripartite Agreement. This should not be taken to imply any change in the position of the three Governments in this matter."

Federal Republic of Germany (5 June 1985):

"By their note of 2 July 1984, disseminated [. . .] on 20 July 1984, the Governments of France, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America answered the assertions made in the communication referred to above. The Government of the Federal Republic of Germany wishes to confirm the position as set out by the three Powers in the above-mentioned note."

Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (2 December 1985):

The extension of the application of the Convention on the Prohibition of Military or Any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques of 10 December 1976 to Berlin (West) is a gross violation of the Quadripartite Agreement of 3 September 1971 and therefore cannot have any legal effect.

At the same time, the Soviet side would like to draw attention to the fact that the Powers party to the Quadripartite Agreement of 3 September 1971 have formulated decisions in respect of Berlin (West) which have universal effect under international law. The extension of the Convention on the Prohibition of Military or Any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques to Berlin (West) by the Federal Republic of Germany naturally affects the interests of the other parties to it, which have the right to express their opinion on this matter. That right cannot be disputed by anyone.

In this connection, the Soviet side rejects as unfounded the communication from France, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America with respect to the declaration of the German Democratic Republic. The view set forth in that declaration by the Government of the German Democratic Republic as a party to the above-mentioned Convention is entirely in conformity with the Quadripartite Agreement of 3 September 1971.

As to the assertions about "Greater Berlin" in the same communication from the three Powers, they are pointless in that there has been no "Greater Berlin" for a long time. There is Berlin, capital of the German Democratic Republic, which is an inseparable component of the Republic and has the same status as any other territory of the German Democratic Republic, and there is Berlin (West) a city with a special status where the occupation régime still remains. It is from these de jure and de facto realities that the Quadripartite Agreement of 3 September 1971 stems.

France, United Kingdom and United States of America (6 October 1986)

"The Government of the three powers reaffirm the statement in the note from the Permanent Representative of France of 28 June 1984 that the declaration made by the Federal Republic of Germany concerning the extension of the application of the Convention on the Prohibition of military or any other hostile use of environmental modification techniques of 10 December 1976 to the western sectors of Berlin is valid and that the Convention applies to the western sectors of Berlin, subject to allied rights and responsibilities, including those in the area of disarmament and demilitarization.

The Government of France, the United Kingdom and the United States further reaffirm the statement in the same note of 28 June 1984 that States which are not parties to the quadripartite agreement are not competent to comment authoritatively on its provisions.

The quadripartite agreement of 3 September 1971 is an international agreement concluded between the four contracting parties and not open to participation by any other State. In concluding this agreement, the four powers acted on the basis of their quadripartite rights and responsibilities, and the corresponding wartime and post-war agreements and decisions of the four powers, which are not affected. The quadripartite agreement is a part of conventional and not customary international law.

The Governments of France, the United Kingdom and the United States cannot accept the assertions by the Permanent Mission of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics that greater Berlin no longer exists and that Berlin is the capital of the German Democratic Republic.

The position of the Three governments on the continuing quadripartite status of greater Berlin is well known and was set out for example in a letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations of 14 April 1975."

See also note 3 above.


5. For the Kingdom in Europe and the Netherlands Antilles. See also note 8 in chapter I.1.


6. The accession shall also apply to the Cook Islands and Niue.


7. Democratic Yemen had acceded to the Convention on 12 June 1979. See also note 33 in chapter I.2.


8. The Government of Argentina has specified that the understand- ings referred to in the declaration are the Understandings adopted as part of the report of the Conference of the Committee on Disarmament to the General Assembly at its thirty-first session, published under the symbol A-31-27. [Report of the Conference of the Committee on Disarmament to the General Assembly (Volume I, Annex I).]


9. On 23 June 1980, the Secretary-General received from the Government of Israel the following communication concerning the above-mentioned understanding:

"The Government of Israel has noted the political character of the statement made by the Government of Kuwait. In the view of the Government of Israel, this Convention is not the proper place for making such political pronouncements. Moreover, the said declaration cannot in any way affect whatever obligations are binding upon Kuwait, under general international law or under particular conventions. Insofar as concerns the substance of the matter, the Government of Israel will adopt towards the Government of Kuwait an attitude of complete reciprocity."


10. On 10 June 1997, the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland notified the Secretary-General of the following:

[Same notification as the one made under note 4 in chapter IV.1.]