This international day was proposed and approved by the UN General Assembly on November 5, 2001 due to the evolution of war strategies and weapons used. Today, unfortunately, modern weapons (be they nuclear weapons or other non-human inventions) have far-reaching consequences for the environment.
The International Day for the Prevention of Environmental Destruction during Armed Conflicts aims to raise awareness that wars not only harm humans but also the environment. Throughout history, the environment has often been an unacknowledged victim of war, with water wells being polluted, crops burned, forests destroyed, and land poisoned to gain military advantage. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has found that at least 40% of all internal conflicts in the past 60 years have been linked to the exploitation of natural resources, including high-value resources like timber, diamonds, gold, and oil, as well as vital resources like fertile land and water. It has also been found that conflicts related to natural resources are twice as likely to recur. The United Nations attaches great importance to ensuring that environmental measures are part of conflict prevention strategies, peacekeeping, and peacebuilding, as lasting peace cannot exist if the natural resources that sustain livelihoods and ecosystems are destroyed. On May 27, 2016, the UN Environment Assembly adopted resolution UNEP/EA.2/Res.15, which recognized the role of healthy ecosystems and sustainably managed resources in reducing the risk of armed conflicts and reaffirmed its strong commitment to the full implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals set out in General Assembly resolution 70/1, entitled "Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development." This International Day takes on new significance for us in light of the war in Ukraine and currently, especially in Palestine/Israel.