Ban stresses protection of the environment in times of armed conflict

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An oil-well set ablaze by the occupation forces of Iraq at the Al Maqwa oil fields. In the foreground is a lake of oil created by un-capped oil wells. UN Photo/John Isaac

Natural resources such as forests, wildlife, water sources and agricultural lands continue to be exploited and degraded during armed conflict, threatening long-term peace and security. That's what United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a message marking International day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in war and Armed Conflict.

He said strengthening natural resource governance and improving monitoring in conflict-affected states can help prevent resources from fuelling conflict, direct much-needed revenue towards economic revitalization and contribute to more lasting peace.

Conversely, he said, failing to protect and manage these resources in an equitable way only exacerbates the vulnerability of those who depend on them the most, especially the poor.

Secretary-General Ban said "On this International Day, we stress the critical importance of protecting the environment in times of armed conflict and restoring the good governance of natural resources during post-conflict reconstruction."

He added "We also recognize the important role that natural resources play in supporting the livelihoods and resilience of all members of society, especially women, and the implications of sustainable natural resource management for conflict prevention and peace."

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration:  1’11″

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