IRRC No. 879
Climate change is not merely an environmental, scientific or economic issue; it has become a humanitarian issue too. Increased climate variability and greater intensity and frequency of extreme weather events aggravate humanitarian needs in emergencies. While migration may be a form of adaptation for some, the many millions of people forcibly displaced will be particularly vulnerable and will require substantial humanitarian assistance and protection. Environmental degradation may also become an accelerator or even a trigger for conflict. The serious harm done to the natural environment during a number of armed conflicts has only added to the vulnerability of those affected by the fighting. But the law protecting the environment during armed conflict is not always clear nor is it sufficiently developed.
Table of contents
- Interview with Achim Steiner
Climate change and its impacts: growing stress factors for human societies
This article focuses on the possible evolution of climate in the course of the twenty-first century and on a number of key climate impacts that may determine the future course of human societies, as well as issues that may confront them such as rivalries over natural resources and possible environmentally driven conflicts and migrations.
International law protecting the environment during armed conflict: gaps and opportunities
There are three key deficiencies in the existing body of international humanitarian law (IHL) relating to protection of the environment during armed conflict. These gaps present specific opportunities for clarifying and developing the existing framework.
Law-making at the intersection of international environmental, humanitarian, and criminal law: the issue of damage to the environment in international armed conflict
This article identifies how international law rules for cross-sectoral problems may appropriately combine the existing expertise and institutional strengths of simultaneously applicable branches of international law, and also discovers how an evaluation of the ultimate appropriateness of the cross-sectoral rules adopted may be substantially affected by the different frames of reference that are used by those working within the different fields.
Water, international peace, and security
Water scarcity, accelerated by climate change, affects water availability and may threaten peace and security. Keeping water out of war not only contributes to preserving an indispensable natural resource for life but also serves as a tool for the hostile parties to start negotiations, building trust and peace.
Taking care to protect the environment against damage: a meaningless obligation?
Little attention is paid to the obligation of ‘care’ in Article 55(1) of Additional Protocol I. Beyond a general principle of upholding environmental value in times of armed conflict, what is the scope and content of the obligation? If it is worthless, what makes it so? Since the care provision includes the same high threshold of harm found elsewhere in the environmental provisions, has this stumbling block now been removed by state practice? Rule 44 of the Customary Law Study might appear to suggest that this is so, or does it? Ultimately then, is the care obligation worth caring about?
Climate change adaptation: integrating climate science into humanitarian work
A changing climate means more work for humanitarian organizations. In the face of rising dangers, science-based information about likely threats can be used to reduce risk and improve resource allocation. By doing so, humanitarian organizations can enhance their work even in the face of the rising risks of climate change.
Climate change, natural disasters and displacement: a multi-track approach to filling the protection gaps
Millions are displaced by climate-related disasters each year, and this trend is set to increase as climate change accelerates. It raises important questions about how well existing instruments actually protect people driven from their homes by climate change and natural disasters.
Collective reparation for victims of armed conflict
The victims of armed conflicts are not only individuals but also collectives. The present article therefore examines the issue of collective reparation. While it is submitted that the question whether there is a right to such a remedy is not yet settled, it is argued that responsible parties should develop robust programmes of collective reparation.
Framework for environmental management in assistance programmes
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Assistance Division, September 2009
Strengthening Legal Protection for Victims of Armed Conflicts
The ICRC Study on the Current State of International Humanitarian Law
The Paul Reuter Prize 2009, Presentation Ceremony, Geneva, 15 July 2010. Recipient: Dr. Théo Boutruche
Address by Dr. Toni Pfanner, member of the Paul Reuter Fund Committee
National implementation of international humanitarian law (Autumn 2010)
Biannual update on national legislation and case law January-July 2010
Books and articles (Autumn 2010)
Recent acquisitions of the Library & Research Service, ICRC