Event: Addressing the environmental dimensions of armed conflict to achieve the SDGs 24-05-16

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This event will provide an introduction to the environmental dimensions of contemporary armed conflicts and their relationship to the SDGs. It will also consider the gaps in legal protection and international assistance that should be addressed, and the role that States and civil society can play in promoting efforts to strengthen the protection of the environment in relation to armed conflicts.

Background

The three draft resolutions tabled by Ukraine, Jordan and Morocco ahead of the second meeting of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA 2) reflect the growing international interest in armed conflict and the environment. It is also becoming increasingly clear that efforts to understand and mitigate the environmental drivers, impact and legacy of conflicts are crucial for ensuring the successful delivery of the environmental dimensions of the SDGs. This is particularly true for the objectives of SDGs 3, 6, 15 and 16.

The direct and derived consequences of armed conflicts can seriously degrade environmental quality and systems of environmental governance, harming human health, livelihoods and economies. Nevertheless these linkages remain under-addressed and existing protection for the environmental before, during and after armed conflicts is widely viewed as inadequate.

Since 2009, a renewed and long-overdue international discourse on strengthening the protection of the environment in relation to armed conflicts has emerged. This is creating opportunities for debate among States, international organisations and civil society on measures to address these shortcomings. But developing the practical and policy measures necessary to increase protection for civilians and their environment first requires greater awareness and acceptance of the environmental dimensions of armed conflict.

The process has been made all the more urgent because for many fragile or conflict-affected States, and their neighbours, meeting the environmental targets set by the SDGs will be impossible without first addressing how we minimise the environmental degradation associated with armed conflicts and mitigate its effects on human health and ecosystems.

This Green Room event will take place during UNEA-2 in Nairobi, for further information please visit the UNEA-2 website or follow #UNEA2.

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