The question of whether a healthy environment is a human right has been occupying the minds of legal experts and governments since the 1980s. Now it is increasingly a question of not whether this is a right but instead how these rights could be operationalised to better protect people and the environment they depend on.
Three resolutions on conflicts have been tabled ahead of the second meeting of the UN Environment Assembly but the negotiations so far have revealed major differences in opinion between states on the role of UN Environment.
If we want to strengthen the protection of the environment in relation to armed conflicts, we need to define what we mean by “the environment” – is it a natural thing, a human thing, a cultural thing or is it all these things and more? How do different entities and legal regimes tackle this question, and what we should take into account when trying to define what it is we want to protect?
Unless the international community does more to protect and restore the environment from the impact of armed conflict, many countries will fail to meet the Sustainable Development Goals. This blog considers some of the SDG targets that are affected by conflict.
For new and ongoing conflicts across the world, the need to document their impact on civilians and the environment upon which they depend is encouraging the development of new research tools and methodologies. With civilians increasingly able to access the Internet and mobile networks, new opportunities are being created for the collection of environmental data, by experts and civilians alike.
How do weapons damage the environment? Should we be thinking only in terms of their direct impact, or should we focus on how weapons are used? Or do we also need to take a more holistic approach, one that considers their impacts on the environment from production to disposal?
Environmental protection and non-state armed groups: setting a place at the table for the elephant in the room
In this blog, Jonathan Somer begins to explore the terra incognita of current efforts to strengthen legal protection for the environment in relation to armed conflicts – the role of non-state armed groups, their policies and doctrine and why they must be part of any solution – in spite of the objections of some states.
Last week, quite a lot of governments said quite a lot of things about 2015’s report from the International Law Commission on legal protection for the environment during armed conflicts. This blog takes a look at what was said, who said it, why it matters and what it tells us about the hopes for more effective protection for the environment from the impact of armed conflict.