Armed conflict, environmental protection and the Sustainable Development Goals
- Sunday, 07 February 2016
- By Doug Weir
This year will see the second biennial meeting of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA), the new, and it is hoped, more politically influential incarnation of the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Governing Council.
One of UNEA-2’s joint themes this year is ‘delivering the environmental dimension of the Sustainable Development Goals’ (SDGs). The SDGs, which replaced the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to much fanfare in 2015, are intended as a blueprint for development for the next 15 years and seek to integrate the environmental, social and economic dimensions of sustainable development.
Last October, and as part of the preparations for UNEA-2, the government of Ukraine announced its intention to table a draft resolution on the ‘protection of the environment in conflict affected areas’. The conflict in and around the Donbas region of Ukraine has had a number of serious environmental impacts, these range from groundwater contamination caused by flooded mines, to damage to its natural resources. The conflict also exacerbated pre-existing environmental problems in the heavily industrialized region. As a result, Ukraine has joined a growing number of countries whose environments have been seriously damaged or degraded as a result of armed conflict in recent years.