Human lives are always lost in any kind of armed conflict in any part of the world. While this aspect of war is largely talked about, the consequences of war on the environment have not become a pressing issue for many. To raise awareness about this, the United Nations General Assembly declared November 6 as the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict on November 5, 2001.
The United Nations Environment Assembly adopted a resolution on May 27, 2016 that identified the part a healthy environment plays in reducing the probability of an armed conflict.
The UNEP gives the example of wars in conflict zones like Afghanistan, Colombia, or Iraq which have led to a great depreciation of natural resources. In Afghanistan, some parts of the country have registered a 95 % rate of increase in deforestation.
Any conflict causes burnt corps, polluted water bodies, damaged forests, and a large number of dead animals. In fact, at least 40% of all internal conflicts in the last 60 years were associated with the exploitation of natural resources, as per the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Therefore, the central idea behind this occasion is to minimize the consequences of conflict and wars on the environment. November 6 every year is used to spread awareness about the need and ways to protect the ecosystem even in the most difficult times.
The purpose of this vision is two-fold. First, to control conflicts that occur over high-value environmental resources like gold, oil, timber, diamonds, or other rare resources.
Second, the United Nations realizes that there can be no peace for a long time if the natural resources that support the lives of people are damaged and hence, it focuses to act on the environmental aspect of wars and conflicts in terms of prevention, peacekeeping, and peacebuilding.