Specialist Group on Armed Conflict and the Environment

Co-Chairs: Michael Bothe, Carl Bruch

 

Year in Review

In the last year, the work of the Specialist Group (SG) on Armed Conflict and the Environment has focused on two main themes: (1) legal protection of the environment in times of armed conflict (led by SG Co-Chair Michael Bothe), and (2) the role of natural resources in post-conflict peacebuilding (led by SG Co-Chair Carl Bruch).

The work of the SG has gained an elevated international profile with the appointment by the International Law Commission of a Special Rapporteur on Protection of the Environment in Relation to Armed Conflict, Ms. Marie G. Jacobsson.  Her analysis focuses on international law relating to protection of the environment before, during and after conflict.  The SG has shared analyses and resources related to protection of the environment during armed conflict and the role of the environment and natural resources after conflict, and considered legal rules concerning actions before conflict to protect the environment. The SG also submitted comments on the Special Rapporteur’s report and co-convened a seminar on Protection of the Environment during Armed Conflict, to support the work of the Special Rapporteur.

Work on the role of natural resources in post-conflict peacebuilding focused on finalizing publication of the edited books, development of policy briefs, and expanding the online knowledge platform for environmental peacebuilding for disseminating key findings and materials.

In the last year, the SG has participated in many presentations and conferences and has published several works concerning armed conflict and the environment. Some of this work is listed below:

Presentations

  • Co-Chair Carl Bruch and SG members Cymie Payne and Karen Hulme participated in a seminar on “Peacebuilding and Environmental Damage in Jus Post Bellum: Clarifying Norms, Principles and Practices,” held in The Hague on June 11-12, 2014. 
  • On October 24, 2014, the SG co-sponsored a Seminar on the Protection of the Environment during Armed Conflict. Held at the UN Headquarters, this event was co-sponsored with the Permanent Missions to the United Nations of Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, and Norway, and Rutgers University.
  • On October 25, the SG held a consultation on “Protection of the Environment in Relation to Armed Conflict” at the Swedish Mission.  Approximately a dozen people participated in this session aimed at assisting the ILC Rapporteur in distilling key points of international law governing the environment in relation to armed conflict.

Goals

  • Support the efforts of the International Law Commission in its work on the protection of the environment in relation to armed conflicts
  • Advance protection of protected areas during armed conflict
  • Build the Environmental Peacebuilding Community of Practice
  • Expand the library of resources on environmental peacebuilding
  • Develop curricula and training materials on environmental peacebuilding

Resources