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Geneva Peace Week : Engaging Armed Groups on Environmental Protection and Climate Change

On 31 October, Fight for Humanity intervened on a panel on “Engaging Armed Groups on Environmental Protection and Climate Change” during the Geneva Peace Week. A group of experts, including Anastasia Isyuk, Operations Manager for Climate and Environment at the International Committee of the Red Cross; Anki Sjöberg, Co-Director at Fight For Humanity; Leigh Mayhew, Research Officer at ODI and Pascal Bongard, Co-Director at the Centre on Armed Groups explored ways for involving armed groups in tackling climate change and environmental issues.

Non-state armed groups, with their significant influence and presence in conflict zones, can disrupt environmental sustainability with the use of certain weapons, destruction of natural sites and exacerbate climate change impacts.


On the other hand they can also have a protective role to play. Due to their (political and economic) isolation, they tend to be aware of the limited and finite resources at their disposal. Hence, some groups have taken it upon themselves to develop their own protective measures. For example, setting up specific institutions to deal with environmental issues and regulating finite resources such as fish, game, water, forest, etc.


As Anki Sjöberg mentioned: understanding the role that NSAGs are already playing in environmental protection, for better or worse, can help us foresee and mitigate additional or increased environmental deterioration after the end of conflict. We must understand that NSAGs can have simultaneous negative and positive impacts on the environment, as seen with the FARC in Colombia. Failure to do so may cost us—and the environment—dearly in the future.” 


The event was organized by the Center on Armed groups and featured speakers from the International Committee of the Red Cross, ODI, and the Center on Armed groups.  


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