The natural environment is also a victim of war, warns Guterres |


“If we are to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we must act boldly and urgently to reduce the risks that environmental degradation and climate change present to conflict and commit to protecting our planet debilitating effects of war, ”António Guterres said in a message marking the International Day for the Prevention of Environmental Exploitation in War and Armed Conflict.

Established in 2001 by the United Nations General Assembly, the International Day highlights the damage to the environment in times of conflict and the fact that devastation lasts for generations, often extending beyond national territories .

Build trust

Although climate disruption and environmental degradation are not the direct cause of conflict, they can exacerbate the risk of conflict, the UN chief said, noting that their combined impacts undermine livelihoods, food security, trust in government, health and education, and social equality.

“The degradation of natural resources and ecosystems adds to the challenges faced by already vulnerable communities in the short and long term. Women and girls are disproportionately affected, ”he continued.

“Not only do natural resources underpin the provision of many basic services, such as water or electricity, but they can also be used as a platform to build trust and share benefits between divided groups.” , he added.

Impact of rising temperatures

While violent conflict hinders many countries from moving forward, conflict-affected states are also less likely to meet their SDG targets. In addition, it appears that by 2030, more than 80% of the world’s poorest populations could be concentrated in countries affected by fragility, conflict and violence.

These effects could be further complicated by rising temperatures and the impact of climate change.

“Conflicts and the environment are deeply linked. Around the world, at least 40 percent of all intrastate conflicts have had a significant natural resource dimension, ”said Mr. Guterres.

“Too often, the environment is among the victims of war, through deliberate acts of destruction or collateral damage, or because, during conflicts, governments fail to control and manage natural resources,” he said. he added.


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