International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict
The United Nations’ (UN) International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict is annually held on November 6. It aims to educate people about the damaging effects of war and armed conflict on the environment.
On 5 November 2001, the UN General Assembly declared 6 November of each year as the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict.
Though mankind has always counted its war casualties in terms of dead and wounded soldiers and civilians, destroyed cities and livelihoods, the environment has often remained the unpublicized victim of war.Water wells have been polluted, crops torched, forests cut down, soils poisoned, and animals killed to gain military advantage.
Furthermore, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has found that over the last 60 years, at least 40 percent of all internal conflicts have been linked to the exploitation of natural resources, whether high-value resources such as timber, diamonds, gold and oil, or scarce resources such as fertile land and water. Conflicts involving natural resources have also been found to be twice as likely to relapse.
The United Nations attaches great importance to ensuring that action on the environment is part of conflict prevention, peacekeeping and peacebuilding strategies - because there can be no durable peace if the natural resources that sustain livelihoods and ecosystems are destroyed.
On November 5, 2001, the UN General Assembly declared November 6 of each year as the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict (resolution 56/4). The assembly considered that that any environmental damage in times of armed conflict impairs ecosystems and natural resources long after the period of conflict. This damage can often extend beyond the limits of national territories and today’s generation. The assembly also recalled the United Nations Millennium Declaration, which emphasized the necessity of working to protect the environment.
What do people do?
Many people around the world, including government officials, scientists, journalists, educators, and business people, observe the UN’s International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict. Those who take part in the day spend time discussing about how the effects of war are damaging to the natural environment. They also work together to find ways to limit environmental destruction caused by armed conflict and war.
Seminars, speeches, lectures, news articles, radio talks, and classroom activities in schools that focus on the topic are some of the events that take place on this day. People learn and share information about the dangers of new technologies in war such as depleted uranium ammunition, which poses unknown threats to the environment. People around the world are also made aware that all efforts must be taken to limit environmental destruction caused by conflict.
The UN emblem is often found in online and print material used to promote events such as the United Nations’ (UN) International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict. The emblem consists of a projection of the globe centered on the North Pole. It depicts all continents except Antarctica and four concentric circles representing degrees of latitude. The projection is surrounded by images of olive branches, representing peace. The emblem is often blue, although it is printed in white on a blue background on the UN flag.