The natural environment is an often-forgotten victim of armed conflicts. Environmental damage caused by various means and methods of warfare results in severe effects on the health, food, water, and livelihoods of populations that can continue for generations. Such adverse effects could be intensified by the rapidly escalating climate crisis, creating an urgent need for opportunities to disseminate and reflect upon the environmental cost of armed conflicts and ways and means of prevention among a range of stakeholders.

International Humanitarian Law (IHL) contains specific and general provisions that seek to protect the natural environment from the effects of war. The updated Guidelines on the Protection of the Natural Environment in Armed Conflict published by the International Committee of the Red Cross consolidates existing treaty and customary IHL protecting the natural environment and offers recommendations that protect the natural environment in situations of armed conflict.

The live webinar on ‘IHL and protection of the natural environment: a preventive response’ aims to raise awareness on the IHL rules protecting the natural environment in light of the ICRC guidance tool while promoting a discussion on the role of national legislation, policies and military practice in crafting an effective preventive response.