A Sustainable Development Perspective
Chapter 5: Post-conflict: breaking the cycle fora better future - sustainable development and environmental protection relevant to security andarmed conflict
Despite the protection afforded by several important legal instruments, the environment continues to be the silent victim of armed conflicts worldwide… armed conflict causes significant harm to the environment and the com- munities that depend on natural resources. Direct and indirect environmental damage, coupled with the collapse of institutions, lead to environmental risks that can threaten people's health, livelihoods and security, and ultimately undermine post-conflict peacebuilding.1 The preceding chapter reviews environmental protection during armed conflict, coming to the conclusion that the environment is directly or indirectly harmed by warfare and that war inexorably halts sustainable development in its tracks. Regrettably, as the law stands, little can be done to protect the environment in a sustainable way during an armed conflict.2 This makes the post-conflict stage even more vital to not only mitigate and restore the war damaged environment but as following on from Chapter 3, to also alleviate and manage environmental pressures. Environmental pressures, that have to be considered together with other socio-economic and development factors, which in combination have triggered and fuelled armed conflicts. Therefore, it is important to integrate environmental and natural resource issues into the post-conflict peacebuilding stage. Prospects of peace and post-conflict reconstruction can be undermined if environmental and natural resource issues are not properly managed at this stage.3 The UNEP Conflict to Peacebuilding Report aptly highlights the importance of sustainable development and effective environmental and natural resource management (NRM) in post-conflict situations: The recognition that environmental issues can contribute to violent conflict underscores their potential significance as pathways for cooperation,
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