With the Ukraine conflict’s environment risks again in the news, Zoï Environment Network has released new maps on the environmental consequences of the conflict. Both sides are increasingly conscious of the humanitarian and ecological impact of the war and plans to minimise risks and encourage sustainable reconstruction are being promoted. But without a comprehensive assessment of the damage, such proposals are of limited value.
Oil fires started by Islamic State in northern Iraq have now been burning for months, exacerbating an already serious humanitarian crisis, but right now nobody seems to be monitoring their impact on the ground.
With new legal principles on the table governing obligations for the remediation of toxic remnants of war, and to ensure data sharing on environmental risks, we take a look at the case of depleted uranium use in Iraq. The US and UK were reluctant to accept responsibility for clearance, and differed markedly on data sharing and cooperation with the Iraqi authorities and UN system.
PAX report Scorched Earth and Charred Lives shows a sharp increase in the number of makeshift refineries in Syria’s oil rich Deir ez-Zor governorate, in the past four years, with the most recent analysis based on satellite images from June 2016. There are likely tens of thousands of makeshift refineries in the region, in which adults and an alarming number of children work.
Amidst the urgency of the humanitarian response to support those feeling Syria, the environmental footprint of these population surges has been less visible but, as Jordan is discovering, failing to address the impact of migration during response and recovery could have serious health, environmental and political consequences.
The United Nations Compensation Commission (UNCC) was established after the 1991 Gulf War. Its aim was to not only help neighbouring states recover from the personal and financial losses inflicted during the war, but also to help repair the environmental damage caused. With protection for the environment in armed conflict under increasing scrutiny, it seems useful to re-examine how this mechanism worked.
Colombia’s environment has suffered widespread and severe damage as a result of half a century of armed conflict. With a peace agreement with FARC on the table, the government has been reviewing the financial costs of the damage – and the economic and environmental benefits of peace.
The devastation wrought upon Syria has cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians, wounding many more and displacing millions across the region and beyond. They have left behind cities turned to rubble, ravaged towns and barren lands scarred by fighting. To mark the 5th anniversary we propose five priorities to address the damage it has caused to Syria’s environment.