Convention on the Prohibition of Military or Any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques (ENMOD). ENMOD. Entry into force: 5 October. ENMOD Review Conference – Preparatory Committee () . #Gambia ratifies the Cluster Munitions Convention, bringing the number of states parties to The Convention defines environmental modification techniques as changing — through the deliberate manipulation of natural processes — the dynamics.

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At the end of the Gulf War, the Security Council, established liability for the environmental damages caused by Iraq as a condition to the cessation of hostilities Resolution of April 3, Inat the 6th Committee of the Enmld General Assembly, when addressing the environmental devastation produced by Iraq in Kuwait, some countries had specifically referred to ENMOD’s applicability to those events.

COP 21, ENMOD and the 6th November : Peace and War at Stake | Grip

In their view, ENMOD needed more specific prohibitions to achieve greater applicability and universality: Regardless the merits of the arguments concerning the applicability of the ENMOD convention to the Gulf War, the discussion has made one thing clear.

However, a call for broader adherence will not achieve any more than a similar urging by the First Review Conference unless is accompanied by action that addresses the fundamental cause of low adherence to the ENMOD Convention, its perceived irrelevance to the real security of States. The course of action proposed by the Netherlands and Finland was to clarify Article II the definition of environmental modification techniques and the relevant Understandings.

The European duo proposal that a specific reference to the use of herbicides which from had been acknowledged by the US as a potential ENMOD violation would be a positive step.

As it had happened at the First Review Conference, and the negotiation of the Convention itself, the issue of the scope of the Convention of Article I received much of the attention during the Second Review Conference.

Once again there were fonvention to abolish the troika. A number of other interesting proposals were made; but because transcripts or detailed summaries of the Review Conference’s deliberations have not been made public, it is difficult to trace the debate.


From the available record, proposals which were made; but did not achieve consensus include: Stating that under international law no circumstances whatsoever can justify any large-scale destruction of the environment. Stating that under existing international customary law it is already prohibited to cause significant damage to the environment of other States or areas beyond national jurisdiction. Welcome Parties’ commitment to observe their obligations vis-a-vis non parties.

Stating that the dumping of nuclear waste in developing countries, even if they are not deliberately used in military or hostile activities, is illegal under ENMOD; and.

Instead, when referring to article I, the Conference retreated to a diplomatic non-decision, stating that: An advance was achieved on the area of research and development, which was never explicitly prohibited by the Convention.

The Conference declared that environmental modification research, as well as its use, ” should be dedicated solely to peaceful ends.

Environmental Modification Convention

The 2nd Review Conference’s major accomplishment was in clearly establishing that “low tech” environmental modification such as fire and herbicides is prohibited. Indeed, it was Conventlon torching of oil wells – a very low tech activity with devastating environmental consequences – that provided political momentum to convene the Conference.

On herbicides, the Conference agreed that their use would constitute an environmental modification technique as indicated in Article II.

This decision more firmly established a broader interpretation of the scope the convention and put to rest the minority view sometimes promoted by the US that ENMOD was manily a “future tech” or “high tech” convention.

The final text on Article II in the Final Declaration, containing the expression “any” hostile use as well as “any” environmental modification technique was meant to solve the controversy once for all. A compromise solution to the problems with the scope was the acceptance of Canada’s proposal to establish a Consultative Committee of Experts to “provide expert views relevant to clarifying the scope and application of the provisions of the Convention”.


Echoing, to an extent, Finland and The Netherlands, Canada said: Clearly, the perceived lack of relevance of ENMOD to the real security needs of most states is the reason for the low level of adherence. The answer is not clear because there are interpretational difficulties associated with key elements of the Convention. Most problematic is the lack of agreement on what constitutes a ‘deliberate manipulation of a natural process’ Article II.

We must… start conveniton process that could lead to legally-binding improvements to the Convention’s effectiveness. At the very last, we need to thoroughly canvass what measures might be taken to that end. It is for this reason Canada strongly supports the creation of a Consultative Committee of Experts… to examine the provisions of the Convention, with a view of determining the effectiveness of their application in relation to its objectives, and to identifying areas for improvement.

Canada’s opening statement, in: The Disarmament Bulletin, N. At least one unidentified state party opposed the need to convene the Consultative Committee of Experts, and a reference to that fact was also included in the Final Declaration [PDF].

COP 21, ENMOD and the 6th November : Peace and War at Stake

Also pertaining article V was a move to convene a meeting to discuss conference-building measures and verification mechanisms. Sweden was disappointed that such proposal had not been accepted by the conference: HYLTENIUS Sweden said his delegation welcomed the consensus on the prohibition of herbicides as a method of warfare, which it considered to be an important complementary element to the draft Chemical Weapons Convention.

However, it was disappointed that the Conference had been unable to agree to convene an expert meeting to discuss future confidence building mechanisms and verification mechanisms, which could not but enhance the Convention.

In that connection, it supported the initiative for the convening of a Consultative Committee of Experts, as mentioned in the Final Declaration.