What The UN Needs To Improve With The Protection Of The Environment In Areas Of Armed Conflict

What The UN Needs To Improve With The Protection Of The Environment In Areas Of Armed Conflict

In any attempt to rebuild war-torn nations and regions, environmental preservation and natural resources play vital roles.

There is an urgent importance for measures to circumvent environmental damage in conflict prevention and preservation. Exploitation and subsequent depletion of resources, in the past sixty years, have been found to have caused 40 percent of civil wars, though other tensions and conflicts may overlay this root cause. Resource-triggered conflicts are more likely to relapse than other types of civil hostilities, but peacebuilding efforts are still unlikely to engage in resource management. Exploitation of resources can often be used as a tactic to undermine peacebuilding efforts. In any attempt to rebuild war-torn nations and regions, environmental preservation and natural resources play vital roles. They are necessary to successfully create sustainability, recover the economy, reform government, create dialogue and resettle displaced peoples.

Since conflicts due to the depletion of resources can further exacerbate damage to the environment of that region, it is crucial that member states and the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) work collaboratively to assess and address the effects of conflict. The UN’s use of Post-Conflict Needs Assessments (PCNAs) often fails to fully account for the connection between sustainability, conflict prevention, and natural resources. The World Bank report, "Review of Experiences with Post-Conflict Needs Assessments," suggests a need for the PCNA process to be streamlined within UN agencies, in order to build capacity for information-gathering and use resources efficiently. The Convention on the Prohibition of Military or Any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques (ENMOD) also suggests that all state parties agree to refrain in military or other means of environmental modification techniques, which present a possibility of lasting or severe environmental damages for the purposes of damaging other states parties. The ICRC is expected to release a new guideline in 2018, and the UN looks forward to working with the international community and raising the standard to which they hold themselves in light of these new developments.

The Disasters and Conflicts Program, under the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), has also provided environmental expertise to over 40 countries on post-crisis environmental assessment and recovery, allowing for peacebuilding processes to be more closely informed by resource management. The operations focus on human health, security, livelihood, disaster risk reduction and environmental cooperation for peacebuilding, and have had success in many African and Eastern European countries, among others. The Disasters and Conflicts program has had great success in the Sahel region in “climate-proofing” development with consideration for conflict.

The United Arab Emirates recommend that existing post-conflict environmental assessments and recovery measures be strengthened and expanded in order to reduce their vulnerability. Through the UNEP Disasters and Conflicts Program, the UN should create a protocol on climate change vulnerability assessment, for both preventative and reactive measures, which could be supplemental to a PCNA. Through this protocol, the UNEP should identify potential conflict hotspots through national and regional assessments of the distribution and availability of key resources, as well as the impact conflict has had on the region's environment and resources. The expansion of the PCNA program will help both the UN and peacebuilding teams to fill gaps in with knowledge and mainstream conflict sensitivity.

There should be an incorporation of “natural resource scarcity and risk” assessment within pre-existing UN Early Warning for Preventing Conflict programs, where they are lacking. UN early warning systems should include capacities for the following factors: unsustainable livelihoods, resource governance, and resource scarcity. By requesting that all UN agencies incorporate assessments of their projects specifically with attention to conflict and climate change, a more complete picture of needs, risks, and best practices can be available to peacebuilding teams.

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The Bests and the Worsts of Trump's First Year In Office

Hard to believe it's been a year....

After about a year of our new president, there is definitely much to be said. There have been highs, and there have been lows (in my opinion, quite a few more), but we are ultimately all still here a year later; this is truly an accomplishment.

Best Moments

1. Calling attention to the integrity of the media

With many fabricated news stories coming out throughout the election cycle and then afterward, it is important to maintain journalistic integrity because this is a vehicle to the truth. Trump has done a good job of bringing this to the forefront of the public mind and reminding us to question everything that we read.

2. Trying to work with Democrats

As America has become more and more polarized lately, it is genuinely positive that he has made SOME effort to bridge the gap and work together.

3. Lowered unemployment

Unemployment is at a 17-year low, and the market is growing. This is part of the natural cycle of the economy, but still -- we need to give him one.

4. Made it easier for military veterans to access therapy

Because we all know they need it after these unnecessary wars.

5. Counterterrorism

Trump has killed militants in Afghanistan without hurting any other civilians.

6. Got us out of school Monday!

Yeah, I felt that traffic from the presidential motorcade here for the CFP Championship...


Worst Moments

1. Like, every tweet.

Uh... has someone told him that the president of the United States of America shouldn't be insulting other countries?

2. Pulled out of the Paris Agreement

Our environment... sustainability... we are now the only country that hasn't signed it.

3. Attempted to ban Muslims from entering the country

This has contributed wildly to stereotyping and Islamophobia within the U.S. We cannot blindly feed prejudice like this and then also claim democracy has a place here.

4. Response to certain internal terrorist attacks

Charlottesville deserved condemnation. So did the Vegas attack. Especially given how vocal Trump was when it came to Islamic terror.

5. Approved the Keystone Pipeline

...and then it spilled. We claim to care about Native Americans and their heritage, yet we blatantly ignored it and built the pipeline anyway. Then it did exactly what everyone feared and contaminated the earth.

6. Kept that haircut...

With that much money, he could get whatever hair he really wanted...

Cover Image Credit: Wikipedia Commons

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Hey, Do You Even Know What The Feminist Movement Is About?

If you don't think you need feminism – you are entitled to that opinion, but I will keep fighting for us both.

I keep seeing a lot of articles from women claiming that they don’t need feminism. If you think that, fine.

You are entitled to your own opinion no matter how wrong I think it is, but so am I. You may not see all the ways that feminism has touched your life, but I do.

I can use my vote to have a voice in my government. I can choose what’s best for my future in terms of education and career. I have rights over what happens to my body. All outcomes of the fights feminists have fought for women in our country. If you choose not to honor those fights, that is up to you. All choices, however, come with consequences.

What we conceive as our rights have not always been so, and could cease to be so at any time. The last year has proven that the unimaginable can in fact happen and that there are individuals in high stakeholding positions of our country that can make unconstitutional decisions at the drop of a dime.

I need feminism because there are people out there who want to defund health institutions focused on providing necessary services to low-income women, who would otherwise suffer without.

I need feminism because there are people out there who think that a woman still has a certain role to be filled based on their own preconceived notions of what it means to be a woman, rather than an individual woman’s hopes and dreams. I need feminism because there are people out there who think women have an obligation to abide by certain rules that have no standing in the lives of men.

I need feminism because there are people out there who are offended by women using their breasts for their natural, biological intentions but find it perfectly acceptable to use breasts to sell their products by sexualizing the female body in advertisements.

I need feminism because my little brother is six and already thinks there are certain toys he can’t play with because they are “not for little boys”. I need feminism because our criminal justice system cares more about the future of sexual assailants than their victims. I need feminism because there are people out there who find it appropriate to scream out profanities to women on the street and find no issue with making women feel uncomfortable as they go about an average day. I need feminism because when I bring up any of these issues or even claim myself as a feminist I am responded to with rolled eyes and tightened facial features. People are literally rolling their eyes at the idea of equality.

Oh, you don’t like feminists because you think they are extremists? There are extremists in literally any identifiable group of people you look at. There are conservatives, and then there are alt-right neo-Nazi white supremacists. There are Muslims, and then there is ISIS. There are Christians, and then there are Westboro Baptists. None of these groups are defined by those who take their definitions and doctrines into their own hands and mold them into identities to hide behind while they fulfill their own agendas. The same is true for feminists.

Feminism is about equality of all people (regardless of their gender, sex, sexual orientation, ethnicity, race, religion, or whatever other categories by which we can further define people). Feminism looks to alleviate inequality as it relates to and is caused by patriarchal norms and misogynistic attitudes. If that sounds anything like hating men or just being too lazy to shave or whatever other stereotypes you can think of, then you are grossly missing the point.

This is why I need feminism. I need it for myself, my mother, my grandma, my brother, my niece, my nephew, my neighbor, my community.

So if you don’t think you need feminism I am truly happy for you that you haven’t yet felt the oppression that women all over the country are facing, but I strongly urge you to really re-evaluate what you think feminism is and why you don’t think you need it. If you still feel the same way – you are entitled to that opinion, but I will keep fighting for us both.

Cover Image Credit: The Anti Feminist Bank//Facebook

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