International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict
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 (A/RES/56/4). . The International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict was established on November 5, 2001 by the United Nations General Assembly, during Kofi Atta Annan's tenure as Secretary-General. Of this observance Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has since written, "We must use all of the tools at our disposal, from dialogue and mediation to preventive diplomacy, to keep the unsustainable exploitation of natural resources from fueling and financing armed conflict and destabilizing the fragile foundations of peace." Various calendars found on the World Wide Web reference November 6th in abbreviated fashion as 'World Day to Protect the Environment in War'. 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 peace building strategies - because there can be no durable peace if the natural resources that sustain livelihoods and ecosystems are destroyed. On 27 May 2016, the United Nations Environment Assembly adopted resolution UNEP/EA.2/Res.15, which recognized the role of healthy ecosystems and sustainably managed resources in reducing the risk of armed conflict, and reaffirmed its strong commitment to the full implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals listed in General Assembly resolution 70/1, entitled “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”.