A Sustainable Development Perspective
Chapter 4: Sustainable development and the protection of the environment during times of armed conflict
Armed conflict has various short-term and long-term consequences not only on development but also on the environment and human well- being.1 In fact, from the scorched earth tactics used by the Greeks during the Peloponnesian Wars, the nuclear bomb dropped in Hiroshima in 1945 causing unspeakable human and environmental casualties, to the current yet unaccounted environmental damage and destruction as a result of the ongoing war in Afghanistan - the environment has always been an inevitable casualty of armed conflict. Such conflict 'undercuts or destroys environmental, physical, human and social capital, diminishing available opportunities for sustainable development.'2 There is no doubt therefore that warfare is inimical to sustainable development. As the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) notes, armed conflicts can have a long lasting negative impact on many aspects of sustainable development, be it economic growth, health, education or environment. In recent decades, many armed conflicts have involved a wide range of threats to sustainable development in many countries and societies. The consequences may affect not only belligerents, but also civilians and neutral States; and can sometimes continue long after the end of the armed conflict.3 This chapter thus reviews laws addressed to mitigating the effects of armed conflict on the environment in the context of sustainable development by exploring two case-studies of international armed conflict (IAC):4 the First Gulf War and the Kosovo conflict, paying particular attention to the response of the international community, especially the UN. These case-studies, which are different from those explored in the preceding chapter
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