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What does conflict have to do with the environment?

The environmental costs of war and armed conflict can be high.

Conflict can devastate ecosystems, destroy natural resources, pollute water courses or leave dangerous remnants of war for decades to follow. Held every year on 6 November, #EnvConflictDay aims to raise awareness of these environmental consequences.

"Environmental protection needs to take a more prominent role in our response to conflict," said Erik Solheim, Head of UN Environment, in his joint message with Stephen O'Brien, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.

This year’s campaign was coordinated by UN Environment’s Post-Conflict and Disaster Management Branch based in Geneva.
#EnvConflictDay tributes included a number of blogs, statements and articles - a full round-up of which can be read by clicking here.

Contributors included Ambassador Marie Jacobson, the UN Special Rapporteur for the Protection of the Environment in Relation to Armed Conflict and recipient of this year's prestigious Al-Moumin Award; as well as experts such as Doug Weir from the Toxic Remnants of War Network.

2016 has been an important year for protecting the environment in armed conflict. The International Law Commission has now released its summary report on ‘Protection of the environment in relation to armed conflicts’. The UN Environmental Assembly also passed a key resolution on the issue.

As UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stated in his message for the day, “we must recognize that we have a duty of care towards the environment in peacetime and during war.”

So, on your calendar for next year: 6 November #EnvConflictDay, otherwise known as the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict.

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