Naturparadiese besonders kriegsgeplagt
Zerstörung der Ökologie im Krieg bedroht Zivilbevölkerung langfristig
Von Johannes Pernsteiner *
Fulda (pte/24.02.2009/06:05) - Fast alle Kriege der letzten Jahrzehnte haben in Regionen mit besonders großem natürlichem Artenreichtum stattgefunden. Zu diesem Schluss kommen Forscher der Naturschutzorganisation Conservation International http://www.conservation.org, die die Lage der Kriegszonen seit 1950 genauer analysierten. Demnach fanden neun von zehn der bewaffneten Konflikte mit mindestens 1.000 Todesopfern in den so genannten Biodiversitäts-Regionen statt, in denen die Hälfte aller weltweiten Pflanzenarten und zumindest 42 Prozent aller Wirbeltiere beheimatet sind. In den meisten dieser Regionen sind viele Pflanzen und Tiere vom Aussterben bedroht. Umgekehrt waren im selben Zeitraum zwei Drittel der insgesamt 34 Biodiversitäts-Regionen Kriegsschauplätze. Es sei neben der politischen und sozialen Verantwortung eine moralische Verpflichtung, die Ressourcen und Funktionsweise dieser Lebensräume zu schützen, schließen die Forscher aus ihrer Untersuchung.
In den Biodiversitäts-Regionen lebt ein Großteil der 1.2 Mrd. ärmsten Menschen, deren Überleben in besonderer Weise von Ressourcen und Angebot des natürlichen Ökosystems abhängt. Bricht ein Krieg aus, tritt der Umweltaspekt in den Hintergrund und Anstrengungen des Naturschutzes werden beendet. Die Zerstörung der natürlichen Ressourcen beraubt in den meisten Fällen die Zivilbevölkerung ihrer wichtigsten Lebens- und Nahrungsgrundlagen. Zudem sind Kriegsflüchtlinge häufig gezwungen, für ihr Überleben zu jagen, Feuerholz zu sammeln oder Lager zu errichten, was die lokalen Naturressourcen ebenfalls beeinträchtigt. Aus diesem Grund starben etwa in der Republik Kongo 95 Prozent der Flusspferde im Virunga National Park.
Dass sich militärische Planer keinen Deut um die Umwelt kümmern, hebt Knut Krusewitz, Umweltplaner und Autor zahlreicher Beiträge zum Thema militärische Umweltschäden, im pressetext-Interview hervor. "Im Irakkrieg etwa jagten die Kriegsführer C-Waffen-Anlagen in die Luft und verseuchten dadurch die geschützten Flussgebiete am Euphrat und Tigris. Das wird den jetzigen Besatzungssoldaten zum Problem, für die man überlegt, Trinkwasser aus den USA einfliegen zu lassen", so Krusewitz. Die Auswirkungen der Verschmutzung gingen dabei räumlich weit über die Kriegsgebiete hinaus. "Als die kuwaitischen Erdölquellen in Brand gesetzt wurden, ging eine Schadstoffwolke mehrmals um die Welt und wurde sogar noch auf den pazifischen Inseln nachgewiesen", betont der Umweltexperte aus Fulda.
Ähnlich wie Informationen über den Kriegsverlauf versuchen Kriegsmächte auch die Veröffentlichung der ökologischen Konsequenzen ihres Treibens zu steuern. "Die Ökologie ist bei Kriegen ein Natur- und Wissenschaftsgebiet, auf dem gelogen wird, dass sich die Balken biegen", berichtet Krusewitz. Ein deutliches Beispiel dafür sei der Vietnamkrieg. Das von der US-Armee mit Flugzeugen versprühte Entlaubungsmittel "Agent Orange" zerstörte die Wälder weiter Regionen des Landes und ließ aufgrund von Dioxin-Verunreinigungen viele Bewohner der ehemaligen Kriegsgebiete erkranken. "Studien bestätigen auch in der dritten Generation ein enorm hohes Krebsrisiko in der Bevölkerung", so Krusewitz. Dennoch weigere sich die USA bis heute strikt, Entschädigungen zu zahlen. "Da Vietnam aktuell vom sozialistischen Planwirtschaftssystem zur Marktwirtschaft übergeht und regen Außenhandel mit den USA betreibt, sind die Entschädigungen kein Thema. Das Beharren darauf würde die weitere Integration des Landes in das kapitalistische Wirtschaftssystem verhindern", so Krusewitz.
Bloß ein einziger Fall ist dem Umweltforscher bekannt, in dem Kriegsmächte Verantwortung für ökologische Folgen ihres Handelns übernahmen. "Im Kosovo-Krieg verschoss die US-Armee Munition mit radioaktiver Alpha-Strahlung, deren Halbwertszeit über vier Mrd. Jahre beträgt. Als sich die Besetzung durch NATO-Soldaten abzeichnete, startete ein großes UNO-Programm mit westlicher Unterstützung, das die verstrahlten Orte aufspürte und einen Großteil der verstrahlten Erde abtrug." Motiv dieser Maßnahme sei jedoch der Schutz der Besatzungssoldaten gewesen, nicht derjenige der Bevölkerung, gibt Krusewitz zu bedenken.
Auch ein gestern, Montag (23. Feb.), veröffentlichter Bericht der Entwicklungsprogramms der Vereinten Nationen UNEP http://www.unep.org/publications [siehe unten im Kasten] thematisiert die Rolle der Ökologie im Kriegsfall. Langzeitige Konflikte zwischen Staaten flammen demnach besonders dann wieder auf, wenn der Anlass des Streits fehlende natürliche Ressourcen sind oder wenn die Ökologie bei Friedensverhandlungen ausgeklammert bleibt. Der Aspekt der Naturressourcen solle in allen Phasen des Konflikts und der Friedensbemühungen einbezogen werden, so die Forderung des Berichts, wie auch verstärktes Umweltmanagement und die Organisation von natürlicher Ressourcen eine Investition zur Vorbeugung von Konflikten darstelle. Umweltschutz sei eine neue Chance für Friedensprozesse, so die Schlussfolgerung der Studie.
* Quelle: pressetext.deutschland, Redakteur: Johannes Pernsteiner
(email: email@example.com); Website: www.pressetext.de
Mit freundlicher Genehmigung durch den Autor.
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From conflict to peacebuilding
The role of natural resources and the environment
First published in February 2009 by the United Nations Environment Programme-UNEP
International peace and security underpin the United Nations Charter, which commits the
international community "to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war." The critical role
of peace and security for sustainable development is further emphasized in the Rio Declaration,
which calls for States to "respect international law providing protection for the environment in
times of armed conflict and cooperate in its further development, as necessary." It also explicitly
recognizes that peace, development and environmental protection are "interdependent and
indivisible." Finally, the UN General Assembly has recently linked armed conflict and natural
resources in several important resolutions, specifically identifying the exploitation of natural
resources as a source of conflict and a threat to durable peace and sustainable development in
Africa, for example.
Linking the terms "environment" and "conflict" remains contentious in today's international
political arena. While most acknowledge that numerous conflicts have been fuelled by natural
resources, UN Member States are divided on how to address the linkages. Some States express
concern about protecting their sovereign right to use their resources according to their national
interest. Many others consider environmental degradation and the illegal exploitation of natural
resources as issues of international concern requiring a coordinated global approach. In their
view, the potential impacts of climate change on the availability of natural resources, coupled
with rising consumer demand and the free flow of international investment capital, only sharpen
the need for collective action.
This report discusses the key linkages between environment, conflict and peacebuilding, and
provides recommendations on how these can be addressed more effectively by the international
community. It has been developed in the context of UNEP's mandate to "keep under review the
world environmental situation in order to ensure that emerging environmental problems of wide
international significance receive appropriate and adequate consideration by governments."
UNEP has been helping Member States to assess the environmental impacts of conflicts and
disasters since 1999. This report extends this work by investigating not only how the environment
and natural resources are damaged by conflict, but also how they contribute to both conflict and
peacebuilding. Developed by UNEP and its Expert Advisory Group on Environment, Conflict and
Peacebuilding as part of UNEP's technical support to the UN Peacebuilding Commission, it has
been financially supported by the Government of Finland.
In supporting the implementation of the recommendations contained in this report, UNEP seeks
to partner with UN agencies, Member States, and other stakeholders to address the environmental
needs of war-torn societies, and to provide the technical expertise necessary to integrate those
needs into peacebuilding interventions and conflict prevention. This report advocates the value
of sound environmental and natural resource management as key inputs to achieve these aims.
We invite the international community to engage with us to transform environmental challenges
into opportunities, and hope this report will contribute to advancing the objectives of the UN
Charter on peace and security, as well as the mandate of the UN Peacebuilding Commission in
facilitating the transition from conflict to lasting peace and sustainable development.
United Nations Under-Secretary-General
United Nations Environment Programme
Jane Holl Lute
United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support
Since 1990 at least eighteen violent conflicts have been
fuelled by the exploitation of natural resources. In fact,
recent research suggests that over the last sixty years at
least forty percent of all intrastate conflicts have a link
to natural resources. Civil wars such as those in Liberia,
Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo have
centred on "high-value" resources like timber, diamonds,
gold, minerals and oil. Other conflicts, including those
in Darfur and the Middle East, have involved control of
scarce resources such as fertile land and water.
As the global population continues to rise, and the demand
for resources continues to grow, there is significant potential
for conflicts over natural resources to intensify in the coming
decades. In addition, the potential consequences of climate
change for water availability, food security, prevalence of
disease, coastal boundaries, and population distribution may
aggravate existing tensions and generate new conflicts.
Environmental factors are rarely, if ever, the sole
cause of violent conflict. Ethnicity, adverse economic
conditions, low levels of international trade and conflict
in neighbouring countries are all significant drivers of
violence. However, the exploitation of natural resources
and related environmental stresses can be implicated in
all phases of the conflict cycle, from contributing to the
outbreak and perpetuation of violence to undermining
prospects for peace. In addition, the environment can itself
fall victim to conflict, as direct and indirect environmental
damage, coupled with the collapse of institutions, can
lead to environmental risks that threaten people's health,
livelihoods and security.
Because the way that natural resources and the
environment are governed has a determining influence
on peace and security, these issues can also contribute to
a relapse into conflict if they are not properly managed
in post-conflict situations. Indeed, preliminary findings
from a retrospective analysis of intrastate conflicts over
the past sixty years indicate that conflicts associated with
natural resources are twice as likely to relapse into conflict
in the first five years. Nevertheless, fewer than a quarter of
peace negotiations aiming to resolve conflicts linked to
natural resources have addressed resource management
The recognition that environmental issues can contribute
to violent conflict underscores their potential significance
as pathways for cooperation, transformation and the consolidation
of peace in war-torn societies. Natural resources
and the environment can contribute to peacebuilding
through economic development and the generation of
employment, while cooperation over the management
of shared natural resources provides new opportunities
for peacebuilding. These factors, however, must be taken
into consideration from the outset. Indeed, deferred action
or poor choices made early on are easily "locked in,"
establishing unsustainable trajectories of recovery that can
undermine the fragile foundations of peace.
Integrating environment and natural resources into
peacebuilding is no longer an option -- it is a security
imperative. The establishment of the UN Peacebuilding
Commission provides an important chance to address
environmental risks and capitalize on potential
opportunities in a more consistent and coherent way.
In this context, UNEP recommends that the UN Peacebuilding
Commission and the wider international
community consider the following key recommendations
for integrating environment and natural resource issues
into peacebuilding interventions and conflict prevention:
Further develop UN capacities for early warning and
early action: The UN system needs to strengthen its capacity
to deliver early warning and early action in countries that
are vulnerable to conflicts over natural resources and
environmental issues. At the same time, the effective
governance of natural resources and the environment
should be viewed as an investment in conflict prevention.
- Improve oversight and protection of natural
resources during conflicts: The international community
needs to increase oversight of "high-value" resources in
international trade in order to minimize the potential
for these resources to finance conflict. International
sanctions should be the primary instrument dedicated
to stopping the trade in conflict resources and the UN
should require Member States to act against sanctions
violators. At the same time, new legal instruments are
required to protect natural resources and environmental
services during violent conflict.
- Address natural resources and the environment as part
of the peacemaking and peacekeeping process: During
peace mediation processes, wealth-sharing is one of the
fundamental issues that can "make or break" a peace
agreement. In most cases, this includes the sharing of natural
resources, including minerals, timber, land and water. It is
therefore critical that parties to a peace mediation process
are given sufficient technical information and training to
make informed decisions on the sustainable use of natural
resources. Subsequent peacekeeping operations need to
be aligned with national efforts to improve natural resource
and environmental governance.
- Include natural resources and environmental issues into
integrated peacebuilding strategies: The UN often undertakes
post-conflict operations with little or no prior knowledge of
what natural resources exist in the affected country, or of
what role they may have played in fuelling conflict. In many
cases it is years into an intervention before the management
of natural resources receives sufficient attention. A failure to
respond to the environmental and natural resource needs of
the population can complicate the task of fostering peace
and even contribute to conflict relapse.
- Carefully harness natural resources for economic
recovery: Natural resources can only help strengthen the
post-war economy and contribute to economic recovery
if they are managed well. The international community
should be prepared to help national authorities manage
the extraction process and revenues in ways that do not
increase risk of further conflict, or are unsustainable
in the longer term. This must go hand in hand with
ensuring accountability, transparency, and environmental
sustainability in their management.
- Capitalize on the potential for environmental cooperation
to contribute to peacebuilding: Every state needs
to use and protect vital natural resources such as forests,
water, fertile land, energy and biodiversity. Environmental
issues can thus serve as an effective platform or catalyst
for enhancing dialogue, building confidence, exploiting
shared interests and broadening cooperation between
divided groups, as well as between states.
Conclusions and policy recommendations
Three main conclusions can be drawn from the arguments
and cases presented in this report:
a) Natural resources and the environment can be implicated
in all phases of the conflict cycle, contributing to the
outbreak and perpetuation of violence and undermining
prospects for peace. In post-conflict countries, they
can also contribute to conflict relapse if they are not
properly managed from the outset. The way that natural
resources and the environment are managed has a
determining influence on peace and security.
b) The environment can itself fall victim to conflict, as direct
and indirect environmental damage, coupled with the
collapse of institutions, can lead to environmental risks
that threaten health, livelihoods and security. These risks
should be addressed as a part of the recovery process.
c) Natural resources and the environment can contribute
to peacebuilding through economic development,
employment generation and sustainable livelihoods.
Cooperation over the management of natural resources
and the environment provides new opportunities for
peacebuilding that should also be pursued.
As a result, UNEP's Expert Advisory Group on Environment,
Conflict and Peacebuilding recommends that the UN Peacebuilding
Commission and the wider international community
consider the following six areas for priority action:
1. Further develop UN capacities for early warning and early action
The UN system needs to strengthen its capacity to deliver
early warning and early action in countries that are vulnerable
to conflicts over natural resources and environmental issues.
At the same time, the effective governance of natural resources
and the environment should be viewed as an investment in
conflict prevention within the development process itself:
2. Improve oversight and protection of natural resources during conflicts
Prioritize capacity-building for dispute resolution,
environmental governance and land administration
in states that are vulnerable to conflicts over natural
resources and the environment.
Include environmental and natural resource issues
in international and regional conflict early warning
systems and develop expertise for preventive action.
Build international capacity to conduct mediation
between conflicting parties where tensions over
resources are rising.
Support research on how the impacts of climate change
could increase vulnerability to conflict and how early
warning and adaptation projects could address this issue.
- Ensure that all development planning processes are
conflict-sensitive and consider potential risks from
the mismanagement of natural resources and the
The international community needs to increase oversight
of "high-value" resources in international trade in order to
minimize the potential for these resources to finance conflict.
International sanctions should be the primary instrument
dedicated to stopping the trade in conflict resources and
the Security Council should require Member States to act
against sanctions violators. At the same time, new legal
instruments are required to protect natural resources and
environmental services during violent conflict:
3. Address natural resources and the environment as part of the peacemaking and peacekeeping process
Develop international certification mechanisms to ensure
that natural resources can be tracked more effectively.
A high-level report by the Secretary-General examining
the UN's experience in addressing the role of natural
resources in conflict and peacebuilding, recommending
ways in which existing UN approaches may be
strengthened, and clarifying what constitutes a "conflict
resource," would help improve coordination, increase
oversight and provide a basis for the identification of
cases that require action by the Security Council.
Make secondary sanctions systematic and uniform,
so that individuals and companies violating sanctions
are subject to criminal prosecution, no matter which
state they are based in.
Support and strengthen current processes to develop
new international legal instruments against targeting
natural resources and ecosystems during conflicts.
During peace mediation processes, wealth-sharing is
one of the fundamental issues that can "make or break"
a peace agreement. In most cases, this includes the
sharing of natural resources, including minerals, timber,
land and water. It is therefore critical that parties to a
peace mediation process are given sufficient technical
information and training to make informed decisions on
the distribution and sustainable use of natural resources.
Subsequent peacekeeping operations need to be aligned
with national efforts to improve natural resource and
4. Integrate natural resource and environmental issues into post-conflict planning
Strengthen UN capacity to provide technical
information on the status of natural resources and
the environment, and to make recommendations for
sustainable use during mediation processes.
Ensure that there are processes in place within
peace agreements for the transparent, equitable
and legitimate definition and realization of property
rights and resource revenues and tenure.
Mandate UN peacekeeping operations, where appropriate,
to monitor natural resource extraction
and management, or certain environmental issues
that have the potential to re-ignite conflict or finance
rebel groups. In particular, the UN should make
efforts, in conjunction with regional organizations
and states, to prohibit smuggled resources from
being exported from sanctioned countries and to
prevent the trade in conflict resources.
The UN often undertakes post-conflict operations with little
or no prior knowledge of what natural resources exist in the
affected country, or of what role they may have played in
fuelling conflict. In many cases it is years into an intervention
before the management of natural resources receives
sufficient attention. A failure to respond to the environmental
and natural resource needs of the population, including the
gender dimension of resource use, can complicate the task
of fostering peace and even contribute to conflict relapse:
5. Carefully harness natural resources for economic recovery
Ensure that a conflict analysis is conducted at the
operational planning stage of what natural resources
exist in the country, the role that they may have
played in fuelling conflict, and the potential risks
they pose to the peace process if they are mismanaged
or poorly governed. This conflict analysis
should directly inform the wider post-conflict needs
Systematically conduct post-conflict environmental
assessments that identify environmental risks to
human health, livelihoods and security and prioritize
needs in the short and medium term.
Consider environmental sustainability when planning
relief and recovery operations, so as to make sure
that the projects are not contributing to the risk of
Integrated peacebuilding strategies should include
a selection of environmental and natural resource
indicators to monitor the peacebuilding trajectory
and any potential destabilizing trends.
Natural resources can only help strengthen the postwar
economy and contribute to economic recovery if
they are managed well. The international community
should be prepared to help national authorities manage
the extraction process and revenues in ways that do not
increase risk of further conflict, or are unsustainable
in the longer term. This must go hand in hand with
ensuring accountability, transparency and environmental
sustainability in their management:
6. Capitalize on the potential for environmental cooperation to contribute to peacebuilding
Prioritze weaknesses in natural resource and environmental
governance structures for capacitybuilding
when these may contribute to a conflict
relapse or human insecurity.
UN bodies should help assess the legitimacy and
fairness of existing concession agreements, as
inequitable contracts may themselves become a
source of conflict. UN agencies or international
financial institutions could also provide technical
assistance to public officials to help negotiate equitable
concessions and contracts on natural resources.
International organizations should promote the
transparent management of revenues from natural
resource extraction. Where applicable, efforts should
be made from an early stage to bring the country
into compliance with international standards of
revenue transparency and trade controls such as
the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, the
Kimberley Process, and the Forest Law Enforcement,
Governance and Trade initiative.
At the national level, independent monitoring
bodies should be established to carry out regular
inspections of logging, mining and other forms of
Gather lessons learned on best and worst practices
in terms of natural resource and environmental
management in conflict-affected countries, with a
view to developing a database, guidance materials
and training for UN Country Teams and peacekeeping
More systematic efforts are needed by the UN and
national governments to engage the private sector
in the development of policies on natural resources
and the environment.
Every state needs to both use and protect vital natural
resources such as forests, water, fertile land, energy and
biodiversity. Environmental issues can thus serve as an
effective platform or catalyst for enhancing dialogue,
building confidence, exploiting shared interests and
broadening cooperation between divided groups, as
well as between states:
At the outset of peacebuilding processes, identify
locations or potential "hotspots" where natural
resources may create tension between groups, as
well as opportunities for environmental cooperation
to complement and reinforce peacebuilding efforts.
Conversely, make dialogue and confidence-building
between divided communities an integral part
of environmental projects, so that peacebuilding
opportunities are not missed.
Include environmental rights in national constitutional
processes as a potential connecting line between
Build on existing community-based systems and
traditions of natural resource management as potential
sources for post-conflict peacebuilding, while working
to ensure that they are broadly inclusive of different
social groups and interests.