Why our human rights depend on turning conflict into conservation

Biodiversity hotspots cover just 1.4% of the planet’s surface, yet 80% of major armed conflicts between 1950 and 2000 occurred in these areas. With the recent release of a UN report stressing the direct relationship between biodiversity and human rights, Alex Reid asks whether it’s time for us to reassess our understanding of the links between armed conflict, human rights and conservation.

Mainstreaming the environment in peace and security

Everyone recognises the importance of environmental mainstreaming. It’s a problem that is particularly acute for conflict and the environment, where the environment is rarely prioritised before, during or after conflicts. In turn this influences how we frame the issues we work on, and it also influences how we work, often content with modest progress from one project to the next. The barriers we face are shared, and systemic, which begs the question – do we need to change the system, together?

Do the ILC’s draft principles on remnants and data sharing reflect state practice?

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.

UN Special Rapporteur calls for action on TRW to protect children

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights and toxics has presented the findings of his report on the effects of hazardous substances on the lives of children around the world to the 33rd session of the Human Rights Council. He argued that States should take responsibility for cleaning-up of the toxic remnants of war and provide medical aid to affected communities and individuals afterwards.

UN legal experts consider principles guiding environmental protection after conflicts

The International Law Commission has just published its third report on the protection of the environment in relation to armed conflicts (PERAC). Its Special Rapporteur is trying to distil state practice, and the norms from disparate bodies of law, into a set of draft principles that capture how States, their militaries and international organisations should address the environmental impact and legacy of armed conflict.

We need to talk about conflict and the environment

The passage of a wide-ranging resolution on the environmental and humanitarian consequences of armed conflicts at UNEA last month has helped to affirm that progress on this oft neglected issue may at last be possible. This blog explores why this is an auspicious time for work on conflict and the environment; how the resolution could bring together civil society, and what states and UNEP could do to facilitate this.