The Environment and Natural Resources During and After Armed Conflict: Lessons and Way Forward (CEL official session)

Natural resources play an integral role in many armed conflicts and in the subsequent peacebuilding processes. Disputes over natural resources can provide the spark for conflict; natural resources can contribute to financing conflicts; and they are important to livelihoods of local people, making their effective management vital.

Management of natural resources during and after conflict was the subject of resolutions 4.071, 4.0197, and 4.100 at the 2008 IUCN World Conservation Congress. It is also an emerging issue for Rio 2012. This workshop will examine the significant progress made since 2008 and discuss future action.

The workshop will focus on two key aspects of armed conflict and the environment: (1) legal protection of the environment during armed conflict; and (2) effective management of natural resources for peacemaking, peacebuilding, and the ultimate transition to peacetime sustainable development.

At present, explicit rules of international humanitarian law protecting the environment in times of armed conflict are insufficient and unsatisfactory. During the first part of the workshop, measures to protect the environment during armed conflict will be explored, including opportunities to amend, strengthen, or develop new polices governing conduct during war. The current state of and trends in relevant international law will be discussed and used as a means to facilitate discussion on future needs and actions.

The second part of the workshop will share findings and foster dialogue concerning management of natural resources after war. Research over the past four years has resulted in an unprecedented collection of experiences regarding post-conflict natural resource management, culminating in the publication of seven related books. This section will share experiences and consider how to apply these lessons and analyses in specific, concrete ways to facilitate the promotion of natural resource management and post-conflict peacebuilding.

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