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 2: Sustainable development, security and armed conflict - developing a theoretical framework for a legal analysis of war and the environment

Onita Das

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


Sustainable development is commonly defined as a process that improves today's quality of life without compromising tomorrow's. In many respects, war can be defined as the opposite of sustainable development. This is because, whatever its causes and justifications, war inevitably has a destructive effect… Armed conflicts disrupt society both socially and psychologically. They divert useful economic resources to destructive aims and often cause long term damage to natural resources.1 In recent decades, the international community has become increasingly aware of the ever more complex and pressing problems arising from growing pressure on the environment by humankind, calling for a reappraisal of international law and policy that is central to this study. In response to such developments is materialising a body of emerging rules and a multitude of treaty regimes which are today being implemented within the framework of the overarching policy concept of sustainable development. As Dernbach comments, '[g]rowing human demands on the environment have interfered with conventional development and cannot be sustained indefinitely. Sustainable development is a Sustainable development embodies the requirement for 'accommodation, reconciliation and integration between economic growth, social justice (including human rights) and environmental protection objectives, towards participatory improvement in collective quality of life for the benefit of both present and future generations.'3 It is a concept that integrates three core pillars - social, economic and environmental interests.4 This book considers the extent to which the implementation of law and policy promotes this multi-faceted concept in the context of environmental protection relevant to security and armed conflict.

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