Policy Reports and Statements of the UN Secretary-General
Statement of the Secretary-General on the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict (2008): “The environment and natural resources are crucial in consolidating peace within and between war-torn societies […] Lasting peace in Darfur will depend in part on resolving the underlying competition for water and fertile land. And there can be no durable peace in Afghanistan if the natural resources that sustain livelihoods and ecosystems are destroyed. The United Nations attaches great importance to ensuring that action on the environment is part of our approach to peace. Protecting the environment can help countries create employment opportunities, promote development and avoid a relapse into armed conflict. On this International Day, let us renew our commitment to preventing the exploitation of the environment in times of conflict, and to protecting the environment as a pillar of our work for peace.”
Statement of the Secretary-General at the Security Council Debate on Energy, Security and Climate (2007): “In a series of reports on conflict prevention, my predecessor, Secretary-General Kofi Annan, pointed to the threats emanating from environmental degradation and resource scarcity. Let me quote from the latest of the reports: ‘Environmental degradation has the potential to destabilize already conflict-prone regions, especially when compounded by inequitable access or politicization of access to scarce resources.’ I urge Member States to renew their efforts to agree on ways that allow all of us to live sustainably within the planet’s means.”
A/61/583: Report of the Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on System-Wide Coherence: Delivering as One (2006): “Poverty, environmental degradation, and lagging development exacerbate vulnerability and instability to the detriment of us all […] There is an increasingly compelling case for taking urgent action on the environment […] There can be no long-term development without environmental care. In a global and interdependent world economic objectives and environmental objectives increasingly reinforce each other. Environmental priorities have too often been compartmentalized in isolation from economic development priorities. However, global environmental degradation – including climate change – will have far-reaching economic and social implications that affect the world’s ability to meet the Millennium Development Goals. Because the impacts are global and felt disproportionately by the poor, coordinated multilateral action to promote environmental sustainability is urgently required.”
A/59/565: Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change (2004): “Threats to security are interconnected […] Poverty, infectious disease, environmental degradation and war feed one another in a deadly cycle […] Environmental stress, caused by large [[population\s and shortages of land and other natural resources, can contribute to civil violence […] Yet rarely are environmental concerns factored into security, development or humanitarian strategies […] More legal mechanisms are necessary in the area of natural resources, fights over which have often been an obstacle to peace […] A new challenge for the United Nations is to provide support to weak States – especially, but not limited to, those recovering from war – in the management of their natural resources to avoid future conflicts.”
A/58/323: Secretary-General’s Report on the Implementation of the United Nations Millennium Declaration (2003): “The more immediate concern for most of our fellow human beings is with ‘soft threats’ to their security, such as those posed by environmental problems, contagious diseases, economic dislocation, crime, domestic violence, oppressive or corrupt management at all levels […] The implications of the scarcity of a number of natural resources, the mismanagement or depletion of such resources and unequal access to them should also be recognized as potential causes of conflict and should be more systematically addressed as such by the international community.”
A/55/985 – S/2001/574: Secretary-General’s Report on the Prevention of Armed Conflict (2001): “The United Nations should strengthen its capacity to help coordinate the international efforts of all actors to carry out structural prevention strategies […] In addressing the root causes of armed conflict, the United Nations system will need to devote greater attention to the potential threats posed by environmental problems.”
A/55/305 - S/2000/809 Report of the Panel on UN Peace Operations (2000): “Other variables that affect the difficulty of peace implementation include, first, the sources of the conflict. These can range from economics (e.g. issues of poverty, distribution, discrimination or corruption), politics (an unalloyed contest for power) and resource and other environmental issues (such as competition for scarce water) to issues of ethnicity, religion or gross violations of human rights.”
Statements and Resolutions of the UN Security Council
S/PRST/2007/22: Maintenance of international peace and security: natural resources and conflict. “The Security Council recalls the principles of the Charter of the United Nations and in particular the Security Council’s primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. In this respect, the Security Council recognizes the role that natural resources can play in armed conflict and post-conflict situations […] Moreover, the Security Council notes that, in specific armed conflict situations, the exploitation, trafficking, and illicit trade of natural resources have played a role in areas where they have contributed to the outbreak, escalation or continuation of armed conflict. The Security Council, through its various resolutions, has taken measures on this issue, more specifically to prevent illegal exploitation of natural resources, especially diamonds and timber, from fueling armed conflicts and to encourage transparent and lawful management of natural resources, including the clarification of the responsibility of management of natural resources, and has established sanctions committees and groups and panels of experts to oversee the implementation of those measures […] The Security Council acknowledges the crucial role that the Peacebuilding Commission, together with other UN and non-UN actors, can play, in post-conflict situations, in assisting governments, upon their request, in ensuring that natural resources become an engine for sustainable development […] The Security Council also stresses that the use, disposal and management of natural resources is a multifaceted and cross-sector issue that involves various UN organizations. In this regard, the Security Council acknowledges the valuable contribution of various UN organizations in promoting lawful, transparent and sustainable management and exploitation of natural resources […] The Security Council recognizes, in armed conflict and post-conflict situations, the need for a more coordinated approach by the United Nations, regional organizations and governments concerned, in particular the empowerment of governments in post-conflict situations to better manage their resources.”
S/PRST/2007/1: Threats to international peace and security. “The Security Council emphasizes the importance of post-conflict peacebuilding to assist countries emerging from conflict in laying the foundation for sustainable peace and development and, in this context, welcomes the establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission that should play an important role to achieve the objective of improving United Nations capacity to coordinate with regional organizations, countries in the relevant regions, donors, troop contributors and recipient countries and to perform peacebuilding activities, in particular from the start of peacekeeping operations through stabilization, reconstruction and development.”
SCR 1625/2005: Declaration on strengthening the effectiveness of the Security Council’s role in conflict prevention, particularly in Africa. “Reaffirming the need to adopt a broad strategy of conflict prevention, which addresses the root causes of armed conflict and political and social crises in a comprehensive manner, including by promoting sustainable development, poverty eradication, national reconciliation, good governance, democracy, gender equality, the rule of law and respect for and protection of human rights […] Recognizing the need to strengthen the important role of the United Nations in the prevention of violent conflicts, and to develop effective partnerships between the Council and regional organizations, in particular the African Union and its sub-regional organizations, in order to enable early responses to disputes and emerging crises.”
SCR 1565/2004: The situation concerning the Democratic Republic of Congo: “Recalls the link between the illicit exploitation and trade of natural resources in certain regions and the fueling of armed conflicts and […] condemns categorically the illegal exploitation of the natural resources and other sources of wealth of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, urges all States, especially those in the region including the Democratic Republic of the Congo itself, to take appropriate steps in order to end these illegal activities, including if necessary through judicial means, and to report to the Council as appropriate, and exhorts the international financial institutions to assist the Government of National Unity and Transition in establishing efficient and transparent control of the exploitation of natural resources.”
SCR 1509/2003: The situation in Liberia. “Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, decides to establish the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), the stabilization force called for in resolution 1497 (2003), for a period of 12 months […] Decides that UNMIL shall have the following mandate: […] (r) to assist the transitional government in restoring proper administration of natural resources.”
Resolutions and Reports of the UN General Assembly
A/RES/62/163 (2008): Promotion of peace as a vital requirement for the full enjoyment of all human rights by all. “Recognizing that peace and development are mutually reinforcing, including in the prevention of armed conflict […] Affirming that human rights include social, economic and cultural rights and the right to peace, a healthy environment and development, and that development is in fact the realization of those rights.”
A/RES/62/28 (2008): Observance of environmental norms in the drafting and implementation of agreements on disarmament and arms control. “Emphasizing the importance of the observance of environmental norms in the preparation and implementation of disarmament and arms limitation agreements […] Reaffirms that international disarmament forums should take fully into account the relevant environmental norms in negotiating treaties and agreements on disarmament and arms limitation and that all States, through their actions, should contribute fully to ensuring compliance with the aforementioned norms in the implementation of treaties and conventions to which they are parties […] Calls upon States to adopt unilateral, bilateral, regional and multilateral measures so as to contribute to ensuring the application of scientific and technological progress within the framework of international security, disarmament and other related spheres, without detriment to the environment or to its effective contribution to attaining sustainable development.”
A/RES/61/28 (2007): The role of diamonds in fueling conflict: breaking the link between the illicit transaction of rough diamonds and armed conflict as a contribution to prevention and settlement of conflicts. “Recognizing that the trade in conflict diamonds continues to be a matter of serious international concern, which can be directly linked to the fueling of armed conflict, the activities of rebel movements aimed at undermining or overthrowing legitimate Governments and the illicit traffic in and proliferation of armaments, especially small arms and light weapons […] Reaffirms its strong and continuing support for the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme and the Kimberley Process as a whole […] Recognizes that the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme can help to ensure the effective implementation of relevant resolutions of the Security Council containing sanctions on the trade in conflict diamonds and act as a mechanism for the prevention of future conflicts, and calls for the full implementation of existing Council measures targeting the illicit trade in rough diamonds, particularly conflict diamonds which play a role in fueling conflict.”
A/RES/60/223 (2006): Implementation of the recommendations contained in the report of the Secretary-General on the causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa. “Underlines the need to address the negative implications of the illegal exploitation of natural resources in all its aspects on peace, security and development in Africa, noting, in this context, the relevant recommendations contained in the progress report of the Secretary-General […] Stresses the critical importance of a regional approach to conflict prevention, particularly regarding cross-border issues such as disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programs, prevention of illegal exploitation and trafficking of natural resources and high-value commodities, and emphasizes the potential role of the African Union and sub-regional organizations in addressing the issue of the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects.”
A/RES/60/180 (2006): The Peacebuilding Commission. “Recognizing the need for a dedicated institutional mechanism to address the special needs of countries emerging from conflict towards recovery, reintegration and reconstruction and to assist them in laying the foundation for sustainable development […] Decides, acting concurrently with the Security Council, in accordance with Articles 7, 22 and 29 of the Charter of the United Nations, with a view to operationalizing the decision by the 2005 World Summit, to establish the Peacebuilding Commission as an intergovernmental advisory body […] Also decides that the following shall be the main purposes of the Commission: (a) To bring together all relevant actors to marshal resources and to advise on and propose integrated strategies for post-conflict peacebuilding and recovery; (b) To focus attention on the reconstruction and institution-building efforts necessary for recovery from conflict and to support the development of integrated strategies in order to lay the foundation for sustainable development; (c) To provide recommendations and information to improve the coordination of all relevant actors within and outside the United Nations, to develop best practices, to help to ensure predictable financing for early recovery activities and to extend the period of attention given by the international community to post-conflict recovery […] Reaffirms its request to the Secretary-General to establish, within the Secretariat, from within existing resources, a small peacebuilding support office staffed by qualified experts to assist and support the Commission, and recognizes in that regard that such support could include gathering and analyzing information relating to the availability of financial resources, relevant United Nations in-country planning activities, progress towards meeting short- and medium-term recovery goals and best practices with respect to cross-cutting peacebuilding issues.”
A/RES/59/213 (2005): Cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union. “Calls upon the United Nations system to intensify its efforts, in collaboration with the African Union, in combating illegal exploitation of natural resources, particularly in conflict areas, in accordance with relevant resolutions and decisions of the United Nations and the African Union.”
A/RES/57/337 (2003): Prevention of armed conflict. “Recognizes the need for mainstreaming and coordinating the prevention of armed conflict throughout the United Nations system, and calls upon all its relevant organs, organizations and bodies to consider, in accordance with their respective mandates, how they could best include a conflict prevention perspective in their activities, where appropriate […] Calls for strengthening the capacity of the United Nations in order to carry out more effectively its responsibilities for the prevention of armed conflict, including relevant peacebuilding and development activities, and requests the Secretary-General to submit a detailed review of the capacity of the United Nations system in the context of the report on the implementation of the present resolution.”
A/RES/57/253 (2003): World Summit on Sustainable Development: “Reaffirming the need to ensure a balance between economic development, social development and environmental protection as interdependent and mutually reinforcing pillars of sustainable development […] Reaffirming also that poverty eradication, changing unsustainable patterns of production and consumption, and protecting and managing the natural resource base of economic and social development are overarching objectives of, and essential requirements for, sustainable development […] Recognizing that good governance within each country and at the international level is essential for sustainable development.”
A/RES/53/242 (1999): Report of the Secretary-General on environment and human settlements. “Reaffirms that, in accordance with its mandate, the United Nations Environment Programme should not become involved in conflict identification, prevention or resolution.” (Note: In the context of the other mandates of UNEP, this reference is understood to mean “not directly involved.” Where environment and natural resource issues are being addressed, however, UNEP can upon request provide technical expertise and support to Member States and the wider UN system involved in conflict identification, prevention or resolution.)
A/RES/47/37 (1993): Protection of the environment in times of armed conflict. “Recognizing that the use of certain means and methods of warfare may have dire effects on the environment, recognizing also the importance of the provisions of international law applicable to the protection of the environment in times of armed conflict […], [the General Assembly] Urges States to take all measures to ensure compliance with the existing international law applicable to the protection of the environment in times of armed conflict; […] to take steps to incorporate the provisions of international law applicable to the protection of the environment into their military manuals and to ensure that they are effectively disseminated; Requests the Secretary-General to invite the International Committee of the Red Cross to report on activities undertaken by the Committee and other relevant bodies with regard to the protection of the environment in times of armed conflict.”
A/CONF.151/26 (1992): Report of the UN Conference on Environment and Development. Annex 1. Rio Declaration on Environment and Development. Principle 24: “Warfare is inherently destructive of sustainable development. States shall therefore respect international law providing protection for the environment in times of armed conflict and cooperate in its further development, as necessary.” Principle 25: “Peace, development and environmental protection are interdependent and indivisible.” Principle 26: “States shall resolve all their environmental disputes peacefully and by appropriate means in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.”
Resolution 3435 (XXX) (1975): United Nations Environment Programme. “The General Assembly, Recalling recommendations 24, 36, 37, 74, 85 and 102 of the Action Plan for the Human Environment […], Recognizes that the development of certain developing countries has been impeded by the material remnants of […] wars […]; Requests the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme to undertake a study of the problem of the materials remnants of war, particularly mines, and their impacts on the environment.”
Decisions of the UNEP Governing Council
23/1/I (2005): Bali Strategic Plan for Technology Support and Capacity-Building. “Requests the Executive Director to give high priority to the effective and immediate implementation of the Bali Strategic Plan for Technology Support and Capacity-Building; including: […] (xiv) Environmental emergency preparedness and response […] (xvii) Post-conflict assessment […] Work must be coordinated, linked with efforts already in progress and integrated with other sustainable development initiatives using existing coordinating mechanisms, such as the Environmental Management Group, the United Nations Development Group and the resident coordinator system.”
23/11 (2005): Gender equality in the field of the environment. “Further requests the Executive Director to give an account of lessons learned about gender-related aspects of environmental issues in conflict situations and to apply its conclusions to the post-conflict assessment work of the United Nations Environment Programme.”
22/1/IV (2005): Post-conflict environmental assessments. “Commends the role that the United Nations Environment Programme has played in undertaking post-conflict assessments, including its role in promoting clean-up of environmental hotspots, in supporting the environmental activities of Governments in post-conflict situations, in raising awareness of conflict-related environmental risks, and in integrating post-conflict environmental activities as part of the United Nations humanitarian assistance and part of the reconstruction efforts to countries and regions […] Requests the Executive Director to further strengthen the ability of the United Nations Environment Programme to assess environmental impacts in post-conflict situations […] Requests the Executive Director to make the necessary arrangements in order to enable the United Nations Environment Programme to conduct post-conflict environmental assessment at the request of the concerned State or States to be assessed as well as to report to the relevant United Nations bodies and commissions for further follow-up.”
- ^ Ban, K. (2008, 6 November). Secretary-General’s message on the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict. New York.
- ^ Ban, K. (2007, 17 April). Secretary-General’s statement at open Security Council debate on energy, security and climate. New York.
- ^ UN Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on System-wide Coherence. (2006). Report of the High-level Panel on United Nations System-wide Coherence in the areas of development, humanitarian assistance and the environment. United Nations General Assembly. New York.
- ^ UN Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change. (2004). A more secure world: our shared responsibility: Report of the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change. United Nations General Assembly. New York.
- ^ Office of the UN Secretary-General. (2003). Implementation of the United Nations Millennium Declaration: Report of the Secretary-General. New York.
- ^ Office of the UN Secretary-General. (2001). Prevention of armed conflict: Report of the Secretary-General. United Nations General Assembly and Security Council. New York.
- ^ UN Secretary-General’s Panel on United Nations Peace Operations. (2000). Report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations. United Nations General Assembly and Security Council. New York.
- ^ UN Security Council. (2007, 25 June). Statement 2007/22 by the President of the Security Council. United Nations Security Council. New York.
- ^ UN Security Council. (2007, 8 January). Statement 2007/1 by the President of the Security Council. United Nations Security Council. New York.
- ^ UN Security Council. (2005, 14 September). Resolution 1625: Threats to international peace and security (Security Council Summit 2005). United Nations Security Council. New York.
- ^ UN Security Council. (2004, 1 October). Resolution 1565: The situation concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo. United Nations Security Council. New York.
- ^ UN Security Council. (2003, 15 September). Resolution 1509: The situation in Liberia. United Nations Security Council. New York.
- ^ UN General Assembly. (2008, 13 March). Resolution 62/163: Promotion of peace as a vital requirement for the full enjoyment of all human rights by all. United Nations General Assembly. New York.
- ^ UN General Assembly. (2008, 10 January). Resolution 62/28: Observance of environmental norms in the drafting and implementation of agreements on disarmament and arms control. United Nations General Assembly. New York.
- ^ UN General Assembly. (2007, 12 February). Resolution 61/28: The role of diamonds in fuelling conflict: Breaking the link between the illicit transaction of rough diamonds and armed conflict as a contribution to prevention and settlement of conflicts. United Nations General Assembly. New York.
- ^ UN General Assembly. (2006, 24 March). Resolution 60/223: Implementation of the recommendations contained in the report of the Secretary-General on the causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa. United Nations General Assembly. New York.
- ^ UN General Assembly. (2005, 30 December). Resolution 60/180: The Peacebuilding Commission. United Nations General Assembly. New York.
- ^ UN General Assembly. (2005, 3 March). Resolution 59/213: Promoting cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union. United Nations General Assembly. New York.
- ^ UN General Assembly. (2003, 18 July). Resolution 57/337: Prevention of armed conflict. United Nations General Assembly. New York.
- ^ UN General Assembly. (2003, 21 February). Resolution 57/253: World Summit on Sustainable Development. United Nations General Assembly. New York.
- ^ UN General Assembly. (1999, 10 August). Resolution 53/242: Report of the Secretary-General on environment and human settlements. United Nations General Assembly. New York.
- ^ UN General Assembly. (1993, 9 Feb). Resolution 47/37: Protection of the environment in times of armed conflict. United Nations General Assembly. New York.
- ^ UN General Assembly. (1992). Report of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, Annex 1. United Nations General Assembly. Rio de Janeiro.
- ^ UN General Assembly. (1975, 9 Dec). Resolution 3435 (XXX): United Nations Environment Programme. United Nations General Assembly. New York.
- ^ Governing Council of the UN Environment Programme. (2005). Decision 23/1/I: Bali Strategic Plan for Technology Support and Capacity-Building. UNEP. Nairobi.
- ^ Governing Council of the UN Environment Programme. (2005). Decision 23/11: Gender equality in the field of the environment. UNEP. Nairobi.
- ^ Governing Council of the UN Environment Programme. (2005). Decision 23/1/IV: Post-conflict environmental assessments. UNEP. Nairobi.
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This is a chapter from From Conflict to Peacebuilding: The Role of Natural Resources and the Environment (report).
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