Damage on sewerage system.

Chair’s Summary Report of State Expert Meeting on IHL: Protecting the Natural Environment in Armed Conflict

Armed conflicts can have a devastating impact on the environment, and the environmental consequences of conflict in turn threaten people's health and livelihoods. States met to discuss in 2023.
Publication 08 August 2023

International humanitarian law (IHL) contains a range of obligations that set legal limits on the damage that warring parties can inflict on the environment. From 24 January to 2 February 2023, Switzerland and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) hosted an online meeting of governmental experts, with the aim of improving environmental protection in wartime through better implementation of international humanitarian law (IHL). The State expert meeting brought together 380 specialists from over 120 countries to share national experiences, challenges and good practices related to the protection of the environment in armed conflict. This Chair's Summary Report, prepared by Switzerland and the ICRC, presents the results of the exchanges between the State participants, including good practices identified. States are encouraged to draw on the examples in the Chair's Summary Report to advance the implementation of IHL at the national level, and ultimately strengthen the protection of the natural environment as they fight.