Environmental Protection, Security and Armed Conflict

Environmental Protection, Security and Armed Conflict

A Sustainable Development Perspective

Onita Das

This book explores environmental protection relevant to security and armed conflict from a sustainable development perspective. The author details how at each stage of the armed conflict life cycle, policy, law and enforcement have fallen short of the sustainable development model and concludes with a set of suggestions for how to address this pressing concern.

Chapter 1: Introduction

Onita Das

Subjects: environment, environmental law, law - academic, environmental law, public international law, terrorism and security law, politics and public policy, terrorism and security

Extract

Threats to the environment, in all their diversity, are a growing concern for societies, States and the international community as a whole. Environmental threats in relation to security and armed conflict are amongst them. These environmental pressures can, in some circumstances cause violent or armed conflict1 and such conflict can, in turn, cause devastating damage and destruction to the environment. This vicious circle can have both short-term and long-lasting impacts on not only the environment, but also on the communities that depend on it. Such environmental pressures and damage are no longer isolated incidents that affect only a small section of society. These environmental problems often extend beyond the territories of conflict-affected States, threatening the lives and livelihoods of people across communities and borders. In the context of this book, threats to ecosystems well known to environmental lawyers are addressed with reference to an aspect of human conduct - war and armed conflict - that has not received the attention it deserves.2 This is a challenging topic because of the cyclical relationship between environmental insecurity and human insecurity. As the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) recently reported, not only have violent conflicts been fuelled by natural resource exploitation and related environmental stresses3 but the environment itself 'continues to be a silent victim of armed conflicts worldwide.'4 With regard to what is meant by the 'environment', definition of this term varies.5 For the purpose of this book, the definition of 'environment' used is as described by UNEP: