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Protecting Environmental Hot Spots During and After Armed Conflict through Multilateral Environmental Agreements
The Jus Post Bellum Project, University of Leiden (2014)
  • Britta Sjöstedt
In this paper I argue that areas of international environmental importance could be protected during and after armed conflict by utilizing the mechanisms established under Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs), in particular the World Heritage Convention (WHC) and potentially also of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Convention). Most armed conflicts taking place today cause substantial environmental damage as a direct or indirect effect of the warfare. Also, indirect consequences of armed conflicts such as unsustainable exploitation of natural resources, massive flux of displaced persons, collapse of governmental control and infrastructure put additional pressure on sensitive ecosystems. The framework of international humanitarian law is often inadequate to provide sufficient environmental protection. Environmental risks related to armed conflict pose serious threats to environmental areas of unique value to be permanently destroyed. As some of the areas are protected under the WHC and Ramsar Convention, these could be means to avoid such destruction. To ensure effective implementation, the WHC and Ramsar Convention establish institutions having a broad mandate to act on behalf of their states parties to take measures to safeguard these areas. Thus, the collapsed national environmental governance could be partly rectified by using the institutions established under MEAs to maintain protection of protected areas during and after conflict. The institutions of the MEAs may mobilize recovery measures through establish funds for recovery, capacity building, cooperative relations with various international and local actors by entering partnerships etc. The WHC has been applied in this manner to protect the world heritage sites during the armed conflicts taking place in the DRC and could function as a model for how other MEAs, like Ramsar Convention, could be used in the future armed conflict.
Publication Date
Summer June 11, 2014
Citation Information
Britta Sjöstedt. "Protecting Environmental Hot Spots During and After Armed Conflict through Multilateral Environmental Agreements" The Jus Post Bellum Project, University of Leiden (2014)
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