QUESTION OF: Promoting recognition by the United Nations of the crime of ecocide

SUBMITTED BY: European Union

CO-SUBMITTERS:Cameroon, Congo, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Iceland, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Netherlands, New Zealand, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sudan, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, Viet nam.



Fully aware that the term ecocide is defined as “extensive loss, damage or destruction of ecosystems of a given territory(ies)… such that the peaceful enjoyment of the inhabitants has been or will be severely diminished” by the UN Law Commission,

Noting with deep concern ecocide does not only affect the air, water, or flora of a nation but also deeply harms ecosystems of animals, living conditions of many bacteria and humans by causing natural disasters like floods, or droughts and resulting in mutations that make life harder for massive communities,

Recalling the house that the drafted version of Article 26 on the Rome Statute stated: “An individual who wilfully causes or orders the causing of widespread, long-term and severe damage to the natural environment shall, on conviction thereof, be sentenced [to …]”,

Keeping in mind the five forms of ecocide being air pollution, water contamination, deforestation, spoiling of land, and crimes against non-human species,

Alarmed by the urgency of the climate emergency and the lack of progress made in recent decades, despite multiple attempts,

Deeply concerned by the dramatic increase of deforestation in natural ecosystems throughout the last years,

Noting further, the current trajectory of degradation of the environment and the misuse of resources endangers the prosperity of the public and the stability of national economies,

Bearing in mind that countries that have approved the law of ecocide have experienced a huge increase in their agricultural production and the reappearance of natural spaces in places that had been polluted by ecocide,

  1. Suggests the submission of two amendments described below to the Secretary-General to be adopted into the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, under article 121 of the statute:
    1. the first, to include the recognition of ecocide as a crime against humanity, by adding to article 7, paragraph 1, a sub point (l): “Ecocide”
    2. the second, to define ecocide in paragraph 2 of article 7 by adding a sub point (j): ‘’Ecocide’ means deliberate or negligent acts or omissions committed in times of peace or conflict including mass destruction of the fauna or flora, pollution of the atmosphere, agricultural or water resources by any adult or  adult group which causes, is aware of, contributes to, or maybe expected to cause or contribute to severe ecological and climate damage or to the destruction  of  ecosystem(s)  of  a  given  territory(ies),  such that peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants has been or will be severely affected”;
  2. Calls upon member states to create the criminal typification of ecocide for the following actions perpetrated, but not limited to, in their national legislation:
    1. unnecessary, reckless, and destructive use of coal-generated electric power
    2. unnecessary, reckless, and destructive use of private vehicles and methods of transportation
    3. excessive breeding
    4. excessive and unregulated consumption of meat, especially environmentally devastating types (steak or pork)
    5. refusal to recycle or its obstruction
    6. evident negligence in the disposal of industrial waste, residues, or bi-products, especially in cases where such activities are regulated
    7. other environmentally deplorable activities and behaviours;
  3. Urges all member states to enact laws to subject multinational corporations to punishment for ecocide, for example:
    1. facing prison time with a minimum of 15 years
    2. having their company shut down
    3. making the owners of the multinational corporations pay to fix the damage they have created, while the workers who did not participate in the ecocide will get help such as but not limited to:
      1. a pension provided by the owner of the company
      2. a list of job openings in other companies, which follow the ecocide laws;
  4. Endorses member states to partner with the United Nations’ agencies such as International Maritime Organization (IMO), International Monetary Fund (IMF), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the World Bank, World Health Organization (WHO), etc by focusing on each of the five major types of ecocide individually and working towards their resolution by first establishing the facts and recognition of the harm caused to the ecosystems and citizens’ health including:
    1. the fact that air pollution has a high chance of leading to acid rains which decrease the quality of the soil in farmlands and therefore deeply damage the farming industry
    2. contamination could lead to numerous bacterial diseases in citizens such as cholera or cancer
    3. deforestation leads to many natural disasters including floods or droughts, toxic waste, over-cultivation, or overuse of chemicals such as pesticides are causes of the spoiling of land which also harms the agriculture industry;
  5. Invites collaboration between all member states and UN organisations such as the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on conducting a chain of programmes called Steps Towards Recognition of Ecocide (STRE) all around the world for the recognition of ecocide amongst the public and in the UN:
    1. which may then progress to include the work and participation of NGOs and corporations that are qualified to take action and create an actual impact which will require these companies and organisations to:
      1. have a net worth above the value determined by the leaders of the programmes or a counsel later determined by the parties involved
      2. be international NGOs/corporations that can operate in several nations
      3. be highly influential for the UN, causing them to have large impacts on the world’s environmental situation
    2. that contains any legal and activistic step taken towards establishing the recognition such as:
      1. member states gathering more frequently on this topic to negotiate on their terms before this establishment with the assist of UN organisations
      2. several countries signing international treaties with other nations, UN agencies, NGO’s or corporations aimed towards domestically recognising ecocide as a crime
      3. funding campaigns conducted independently from the STRE programme by its members or civil organisations
      4. supporting further research done on ecocide and its prevention by funding these researches done by STRE members, creating new research programmes if seen necessary, and improving the quality of these researches by simply ensuring they have qualified staff and equipment.