Agenda item 19
Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 21 December 2016
[on the report of the Second Committee (A/71/463)]
71/218. Oil slick on Lebanese shores
The General Assembly,
Recalling its resolutions 61/194 of 20 December 2006, 62/188 of 19 December 2007, 63/211 of 19 December 2008, 64/195 of 21 December 2009, 65/147 of 20 December 2010, 66/192 of 22 December 2011, 67/201 of 21 December 2012, 68/206 of 20 December 2013, 69/212 of 19 December 2014 and 70/194 of 22 December 2015 on the oil slick on Lebanese shores,
Reaffirming the outcome of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, especially principle 7 of the Declaration of the Conference,1 in which States were requested to take all possible steps to prevent pollution of the seas,
Emphasizing the need to protect and preserve the marine environment in accordance with international law,
Taking into account the 1992 Rio Declaration on Environment and Development,2 especially principle 16, in which it was stipulated that the polluter should, in principle, bear the cost of pollution, and taking into account also chapter 17 of Agenda 21,3
Noting with great concern the environmental disaster caused by the destruction by the Israeli Air Force on 15 July 2006 of the oil storage tanks in the direct vicinity of El-Jiyeh electric power plant in Lebanon, resulting in an oil slick that covered the entirety of the Lebanese coastline, extended to the Syrian coastline and hinder ed efforts to achieve sustainable development, as already highlighted by the General Assembly in its resolutions 61/194, 62/188, 63/211, 64/195, 65/147, 66/192, 67/201, 68/206, 69/212 and 70/194,
Noting that the Secretary-General expressed grave concern at the lack of any acknowledgement on the part of the Government of Israel of its responsibilities vis-à-vis reparations and compensation to the Government and people of Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic affected by the oil spill,
Recalling that, in paragraph 5 of its resolution 70/194, it reiterated its request to the Government of Israel to assume responsibility for prompt and adequate compensation to the Government of Lebanon and other countries directly affected by the oil slick, such as the Syrian Arab Republic, whose shores have been partially polluted, and recognizing the conclusion of the Secretary-General that this request of the General Assembly has yet to be implemented,
Acknowledging that the Secretary-General concluded that this oil spill is not covered by any of the international oil spill compensation funds and thus merits special consideration, and recognizing that further consideration needs to be given to the option of securing the relevant compensation from the Government of Israel,
Acknowledging also the conclusions on measuring and quantifying the environmental damage set out in the report of the Secretary-General,4
Noting again with appreciation the assistance offered by donor countries and international organizations for the clean-up operations and the early recovery and reconstruction of Lebanon through bilateral and multilateral channels, including the Athens Coordination Meeting on the response to the marine pollution incident in the Eastern Mediterranean, held on 17 August 2006, as well as the Stockholm Conference for Lebanon’s Early Recovery, held on 31 August 2006,
Acknowledging that the Secretary-General has welcomed the agreement of the Lebanon Recovery Fund to host the Eastern Mediterranean Oil Spill Restoration Trust Fund, under its existing mechanism, and expressing concern that to date no contributions have been made to the Trust Fund,
- Takes note of the report of the Secretary-General;4
- Reiterates, for the eleventh consecutive year, its deep concern about the adverse implications of the destruction by the Israeli Air Force of the oil storage tanks in the direct vicinity of the Lebanese El-Jiyeh electric power plant for the achievement of sustainable development in Lebanon;
- Considers that the oil slick has heavily polluted the shores of Lebanon and partially polluted Syrian shores and consequently has had serious implications for livelihoods and the economy of Lebanon, owing to the adverse implications for natural resources, biodiversity, fisheries and tourism, and for human health in the country;
- Acknowledges the conclusions in the report of the Secretary-General, in which he stated that studies show that the value of the damage to Lebanon amounted to 856.4 million United States dollars in 2014, and requests the Secretary-General to urge United Nations bodies and agencies and other relevant organizations involved in the initial assessment of the relevant environmental damage to undertake, within existing resources, a further study, building on, inter alia, the initial work of the World Bank presented in the report of the Secretary-General submitted to the General Assembly at its sixty-second session,5 with a view to measuring and quantifying the environmental damage sustained by neighbouring countries;
- Reiterates its request in this regard to the Government of Israel to assume responsibility for prompt and adequate compensation to the Government of Lebanon for the aforementioned damage and to other countries directly affected by the oil slick, such as the Syrian Arab Republic, whose shores have been partially polluted, for the costs of repairing the environmental damage caused by the destruction, including the restoration of the marine environment, in particular in the light of the conclusion contained in the report of the Secretary-General that there remains grave concern at the lack of implementation of the relevant provisions of the resolutions of the General Assembly on the subject vis-à-vis reparations and compensation to the Government and people of Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic affected by the oil spill;
- Reiterates its appreciation for the efforts of the Government of Lebanon and those of Member States, regional and international organizations, regional and international financial institutions, non-governmental organizations and the private sector in the initiation of clean-up and rehabilitation operations on the polluted shores, and encourages Member States and the above-mentioned entities to continue their financial and technical support to the Government of Lebanon towards achieving the completion of clean-up and rehabilitation operations, with the aim of preserving the ecosystem of Lebanon and that of the Eastern Mediterranean Basin;
- Welcomes the agreement of the Lebanon Recovery Fund to host the Eastern Mediterranean Oil Spill Restoration Trust Fund, based on voluntary contributions, to provide assistance and support to the States directly and adversely affected in their integrated environmentally sound management, from clean -up to safe disposal of oily waste, of this environmental disaster resulting from the destruction of the oil storage tanks at El-Jiyeh electric power plant;
- Notes that in his report the Secretary-General urged Member States, international organizations, international and regional financial institutions, non-governmental organizations and the private sector to intensify their support for Lebanon in this matter, particularly for recovery and rehabilitation activities on the Lebanese coast, reiterates its invitation to States and the international donor community to make voluntary financial contributions to the Trust Fund, and in this regard requests the Secretary-General to mobilize international technical and financial assistance in order to ensure that the Trust Fund has sufficient and adequate resources;
- Recognizes the multidimensionality of the adverse impact of the oil slick, and requests the Secretary-General to submit to the General Assembly at its seventy- second session a report on the implementation of the present resolution under the item entitled “Sustainable development”.
66th plenary meeting
21 December 2016
1See Report of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, Stockholm, 5–16 June 1972 (A/CONF.48/14/Rev.1), part one, chap. I.
2Report of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, Rio de Janeiro, 3–14 June 1992, vol. I, Resolutions Adopted by the Conference (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.93.I.8 and corrigendum), resolution 1, annex I.
3Ibid., annex II.