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Joint Statement by Global Civil Society Organizations to UNEA 5.2 on Ukraine

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Joint Statement by Global Civil Society Organizations to UNEA 5.2 on Ukraine

On behalf of 93 NGOS we want to share the following statement

We are deeply worried as we are witnessing the grave humanitarian consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This armed conflict poses serious risks to the lives and health of Ukraine’s people in the first place, while in turn this can also bring severe environmental health risks and affects Ukraine’s biodiversity, ecosystems and natural resources that they depend on.
We are gathered here in Nairobi to address a wide range of environmental issues, and to Act for Nature. Yet we must underscore the relationship between armed conflicts and the environment.
Already there are serious concerns over the state of Ukraine’s nuclear facilities. Critical staff struggle with maintenance of the Chernobyl nuclear site, currently under control of Russian forces, and other nuclear waste storage sites are at risk from nearby shelling.
Furthermore, there are hundreds of industrial sites at risk from being targeted, and capable of causing environmental emergencies if hit, placing the health of nearby communities and ecosystems at risk in the near- and long-term. In recent days, several fuel depots and gas lines were bombed, with additional reports of burning warehouses storing chemicals. Damage to water infrastructure affects water security, and damage and disruption to electricity networks heightens the risks of flooding mines storing nuclear and toxic waste in Donbas, that can further increase risks for the entire region, and may eventually make large parts of it uninhabitable.
Destruction of people’s habitats and collapse of environmental governance will further contribute to serious issues around public health, solid waste management and controls of chemical and industrial toxics, in particular those in populated areas. Russian attacks on munitions depots have already led to the dispersal of military-origin heavy metals and toxic hazardous energetic materials, posing additional human health and environmental risks.
In 2016, UNEA-2 adopted a Ukrainian resolution on the protection of the environment in areas affected by armed conflict. The necessity of this was reiterated in 2017, when UNEA-3 adopted an Iraqi-led resolution on conflict-pollution.
Today, we are urging States here in Nairobi to once again, and under pressing circumstances, stress the importance of addressing the relationships between the environment, peace and security. And, in response to the serious environmental risks triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, to:
Provide funds and technical expertise for an initial rapid environmental assessment by UNEP in consultation with humanitarian agencies and civil society groups, in Ukraine;
Support local and international initiatives for the identification and monitoring of conflict-linked environmental risks and damage, and;
Pledge the environmental assistance necessary to Ukraine to address the consequences of the conflict for its people and ecosystems, and to support clean-up and restoration efforts.
Ukraine is just one of many countries where armed conflicts are impacting the environment and undermining environmental governance. We therefore urge States to ensure that the environmental dimensions of armed conflicts are part of UNEP’s core work, as well as that of UNEA. We urge States to push back against the vocal minority of governments that oppose UNEP’s activities in this space. We also urge them to ensure that UNEP’s historical and vital work on the environmental dimensions of conflicts remains a visible and a meaningful part of its current Medium-Term Strategy, as was promised.
The situation in Ukraine demonstrates why these themes must be a part of the Assembly’s dialogues and decisions. Their absence from a range of relevant resolutions this year has not gone unnoticed. Whether this is the link between biodiversity loss and armed conflicts, between mineral resource governance and insecurity, or in the potential role that nature can play in supporting human security, or in post-conflict recovery and conflict transformation.
UNEP and UNEA must grasp the vital role that they can play in advancing the environment, peace and security agenda, and in turn supporting stronger norms on the protection of the environment in relation to armed conflicts across the whole UN system, and beyond.

Signed by:

PAX, Environmental Law Institute, Zoi Environment Network, European Environmental Bureau, Conflict and Environment Observatory, Alp Analytica, Let’s Do It Foundation, Let’s Do It Hungary, let’s Do It Taiwan, Norwegian People’s Aid, Trustworks Global, Bali Waste Platform, Humusz Szövetség, Ekologi brez meja, ZERO – Association for the Sustainability of the Earth System, Bye Bye Plastic Bags, Women Engage for a Common Future, Estonian Roundtable for Development Cooperation, Save Estonia’s Forests (Päästame Eesti Metsad MTÜ), Niilusoo MTÜ, MTÜ Roheline Pärnumaa, Fridays For Future Estonia, IDLoome OÜ, Zero Waste Society (Ukraine), Bioneer.ee (MTÜ Ökotark), Greens Movement of Georgia/ Friend of the Earth Georgia, Global Council for Science and the Environment, Sciaena (Portugal), Zoological Society of London, Center for International Environmental Law, Oceanic Global, CODEPINK, US VOICE Ireland, Rezero, Zero Waste Laos, Turtle Island Restoration Network, 5 Gyres, No Plastic In My Sea (France), MTÜ Paranduskelder (Estonia), Polish Zero Waste Association, Green Tiger Foundation (Estonia), MTÜ Eesti Vegan Selts, IBON International Africa, Mondo (Estonia), Guta Environmental Law Association, Environmental Defence Canada, MTÜ Uuskasutuskeskus (Estonia), Azul (USA/Mexico), Legacies of War, The Last Beach Cleanup, The Last Plastic Straw, Plastic Pollution Coalition, Mother Earth Foundation Philippines, Health Care Without Harm SE Asia, Greeners Action (Hong Kong), Zero Waste Himalaya, Alaska Community Action on Toxics, Korean Federation for Environmental Movement(KFEM), Vietnam Zero Waste Alliance, Mai Mult Verde Romania, Political Ecology Research Centre, Massey University
, Blum Center for Poverty Alleviation and Sustainable Development, Zero Waste Nepal/HECAF360, Plastic Soup Surfer, Friends of the Baltic
, Bankwatch Romania, Pittsburghers Against Single Use Plastic (PASUP), Race for Water Foundation, Plastic Soup Foundation (Netherlands), Legambiente Onlus (Italy), New Idea Association (Poland), Let’s Do It World, Scientists for Global Responsibility (UK)
, Kindred Community (Singapore), Blái herinn (Blue army in Iceland), Nipe Fagio (Tanzania), The Skill Mill (UK), Let’s Do It Tükiye (Turkey), Green Heroes Austria, let’s Do It Indonesia/ World Cleanup Day Indonesia, Concern waste sindh & recycling, Let’s Do it Pakistan
, Let’s Do It Iran, Friends of the Earth Cyprus, Zero Waste Austria, Asociación Retorna, Let’s Do It Mauritius, Zelena akcija / Friends of the Earth Croatia, Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA) India, ECOTON Indonesia, Zero Waste Europe, Environmental Rights Foundation (ERF) Taiwan, Studio Viridis Nature Education (Estonia), CHEM Trust, MTÜ Rannamänniku kaitseks (Estonia), Peak Plastic Foundation (USA), Stop Ecocide International, Heirs To Our Oceans, Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature (GARN), Let’s Do It Japan / WORLD CLEANUP DAY JAPAN, Let’s Do It World (LDIW) Malaysia / Malaysian Humanitarian Foundation (MHF), Ecowaste Coalition, Philippines
, Geneva Water Hub, Switzerland, Let’s Do It World (LDIW) Myanmar, Plastic Free Seas (Hong Kong), Project Mariknows (Philippines)
, Green Pihiliipines Migrant Workers Union

우리는 우크라이나 사태를통해 전쟁과 분쟁으로 우크라이나 국민의 생명과 환경 그리고 생물다양성이 파괴되는 모습을 보고있습니다. 환경운동연합은 3월 1일 세계 93개 시민사회단체와 연대하여 유엔환경계획과 유엔환경총회가 환경과 평화, 안본 문제에 중요한 역할을 할 것을 촉구했습니다.

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