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Zayed International Foundation for the Environment participates in panel discussion on 'Armed Conflicts, Environment and Human Rights' at Geneva meet

H.E. Major General Prof. Mohammed Ahmed bin Fahd, Assistant Commander-in-chief of Dubai Police for Academic and Training Affairs, and Chairman of the Higher Committee of the Zayed International Foundation for the Environment, delivered a keynote address virtually on June 8, 2022, at a panel session titled, Armed Conflicts, Environment and Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland.

The event was organised as part of a joint initiative between the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue and the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, and panelists highlighted the long-term and irreparable environmental damage arising as a consequence of armed conflict, and its inherent potential to prevent the effective rebuilding of society.

Prof. Mohammed bin Fahd thanked the organisers for hosting a timely and relevant discussion and highlighted the need to facilitate the adoption of concrete implementation measures to strengthen the protection of the environment in armed conflict.

Conflict-related human displacement can also have inadvertent environmental impacts, causing environmental degradation and damaging ecosystems. The state of the environment, in turn, has a direct bearing on the welfare and well-being of people living in that region.

The first of a two-part panel session explored the normative and legal frameworks to guide and help address the threat posed by armed conflicts on the environment and human rights. Prof. Mohammed bin Fahd joined experts and academics from around the world in the second session where panelists shared experiences from the field on the widespread patterns of environmental degradation caused by armed conflicts, that result in adverse implications for the enjoyment of human rights.

Experts offered insights into the role of governments, international organizations, and civil society in adopting preventive measures at the national and international levels to strengthen environmental protection; empower local communities to be active contributors in post-conflict rebuilding and reconstruction efforts; and address the resulting human rights gaps.

Panelists on the ‘Normative and Legal Framework’ session included Dr. Lindsey Cameron, Head of the Unit of Thematic Legal Advisers, Legal Division, International Committee of the Red Cross; Dr. Emma Hakala, Senior Research Fellow, Global Security Research Programme, Finnish Institute of International Affairs; and Yulia Mogutova, Teaching Assistant, Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, and PhD candidate at the Université de Genève. Dr. Hilal Elver, UN Former Special on Right to Food (2014-2020) and, currently member of the High-Level Panel of Experts of the Committee of World Food Security, delivered the keynote address in the first session, which was moderated by Gloria Gaggioli, Director, Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights.

Joining Prof. Mohammed bin Fahd in the ‘Experiences from the Field’ session were Hassan Partow, Programme Manager, Disasters and Conflicts Branch, United Nations Environment Programme; Nazanine Moshiri, Senior Climate & Security Analyst (Africa), International Crisis Group; and Doug Weir, Research and Policy Director, Conflict and Environment Observatory. Dr. Umesh Palwankar, Executive Director, at the Geneva Centre moderated the session.

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