International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict

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Related Hashtags#War, #Conflict, #Armedconflict, #Exploitation, #International
2023 Date6 November 2023
2024 Date6 November 2024

International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict

International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict in
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The International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict aims to raise awareness about the devastating impacts that warfare and armed confrontations can have on the environment. This observance is critical as history has shown that natural resources are often targeted during conflicts, leading to long-term environmental degradation and affecting the livelihoods of vulnerable populations. The protection of the environment is not only essential for sustainable development and peace but also represents a crucial component in mitigating the negative effects of climate change.

The United Nations (UN) introduced this international day on November 5, 2001, acknowledging the importance of protecting the environment during times of conflict. Similarly, South Africa has experienced the detrimental consequences of war and armed conflict on its natural resources. The impact of landmines from past conflicts, for example, continues to be a concern for both human safety and the environment. It is essential for South Africans to join the call for the prevention and control of activities that risk causing harm to nature during conflicts.

South Africa observes International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict as a part of its commitment to promote environmental conservation and sustainable development. Various initiatives such as educational programs, seminars, and awareness campaigns are conducted on this day to shed light on the importance of environmental protection in conflicts. South Africa commemorates this observance on November 6th, in solidarity with the global community, emphasizing the country's determination to protect the environment in times of peace as well as during war and armed conflict.

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Facts about this day

  • According to the U.N Environment Programme, over the last 60 years, 40% of all domestic conflicts have been linked to an exploitation of natural resources.
  • According to the Conflict and Environment Observatory, the largest militaries produce more carbon dioxide emissions than most of the world's countries combined.
  • South Africa has experienced significant land contamination due to past military activities, particularly at old military bases and testing grounds. This includes hazardous waste and unexploded ordinance. The Department of Defence is currently responsible for conducting environmental assessments and clean-up operations in such areas.
  • South African security personnel and private military contractors have been involved in wildlife conservation efforts in conflict zones, facing armed poachers and fending off illegal hunting. The expertise gained from South African military experience has benefitted anti-poaching efforts in countries such as Mozambique, where rhino populations are at risk.

Top things to do in South Africa for this observance

  • Research and discuss environmental impacts on your community. Find out how you can make a positive impact or change.
  • Organize a tree-planting event in an area affected by armed conflicts. This symbolic act not only helps to restore the environment but also raises awareness about the importance of preserving nature during times of war.
  • Use the day to advocate for policy change and stricter regulations on environmental protection during war and armed conflict. Organize campaigns, petitions, or meetings with local policymakers to discuss and promote this cause.

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