On 5 November 2001, the UN General Assembly declared 6 November of each year as the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict (A/RES/56/4).  Though mankind has always counted its war casualties in terms of dead and wounded soldiers and civilians, destroyed cities and livelihoods, the environment has often remained the unpublicized victim of war.

 

On 5 November 2001, the UN General Assembly declared 6 November of each year as the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict (A/RES/56/4).

Though mankind has always counted its war casualties in terms of dead and wounded soldiers and civilians, destroyed cities and livelihoods, the environment has often remained the unpublicized victim of war.

While a variety of clauses in international law exist which can protect natural resources and the environment during armed conflict, their implementation and enforcement remains weak. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has produceda  report which assesses the state of existing international law, identifies the current gaps and weaknesses in the system, and makes recommendations on ways to strengthen the law and its enforcement. The legal assessment was jointly conducted by experts from UNEP and the Environmental Law Institute (ELI).

The United Nations attaches great importance to ensuring that action on the environment is part of conflict prevention, peacekeeping and peacebuilding strategies — because there can be no durable peace if the natural resources that sustain livelihoods and ecosystems are destroyed.

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