We believe that the protection of civilians and the environment from toxic remnants of war should be informed by the standards applicable during peacetime. In doing so we recognise that a healthy environment is a prerequisite for the enjoyment of the fundamental human rights to health, life and livelihoods, irrespective of the existence of an armed conflict.
We recognise that assessing and documenting environmental hazards, and making that information available to communities, is the foundation for ensuring the protection of those fundamental human rights. In this it is crucial for not only ensuring accountability for harm but also in ensuring that communities can fully participate in decision making that affects their health and livelihoods.
We believe that accelerating efforts to mainstream environmental considerations in the response to conflicts and incidents associated with military activities is vital. Environmental degradation increases the vulnerability of communities and protecting civilians should no longer be seen as distinct from protecting the environment they depend on. Finally, we recognise that both belligerents, and the international community as a whole, have a shared responsibility in ensuring that wartime environmental damage is minimised, and where it does occur, it is swiftly and effectively dealt with.