CoESPU Magazine nr. 4-2018

When the United Nations was created, more than 70 years ago, the environmental matter was not considered a global problem. As a matter of fact, the UN Charter does not even mention the word “environment”.

Several things have changed since then and, having witnessed, in the last two decades, more than 2.500 natural disasters, the International community realized that the environmental issue can be the cause of international conflicts, massive migration flows and other phenomena able to undermine human health, economic well-being, and social stability.

Starting from reaction to national threats a global reaction has taken place and, currently, more than 200 international environmental conventions have been ratified all over the globe.

The United Nation reacted promptly to the challenge. The “UN Environment Program” (UNEP), started and based in Kenya in 1972 as a consequence of the Stockholm Conference on Human Environment, has overall responsibility for environmental issues among all other UN Agencies.

On December 2018, in  Katowice (Poland), the “UN Climate Change” Secretariat – established in 1992 after the adoption of the “UN Framework Convention on Climate Change” (UNFCCC) – held an international conference aiming to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals through Climate Action. The fourth “UN Environment Adaptation Gap Report” released after the Conference, revealed a persistent gap between climate change alarm and actual countermeasures taken by the international community.

Furthermore, the Environmental management is becoming a strategic priority for UN especially within the context of Peace Missions, for the risk the mission themselves pose to local communities and ecosystems. Therefore, in the same direction the UN followed for the threat to Human Rights, cultural heritage and for the risk of Sexual Abuse or exploitation related to people deployed on the field, the Department of Field Support launched a six-year Environment Strategy to ensure that missions might respect the environment, maximize efficiency in the use of natural resources to preserve ecosystems and provide, when possible, a positive impact.

For all the reasons above, the “Environmental protection” – inside and outside UN Peacekeeping operations –, despite all the progresses, is still to be considered a great challenge for the 21st Century.

The Carabinieri, focused on that challenge since 1986 with the creation of a specialized unit called “Environmental Care Command”, gave a fresh impetus to the environmental policy in 2017, incorporating the former Forestry Corps (Corpo Forestale delloStato): more than 7000 professionals of the Environmental Protection Police, are now integrated and operational, in Italy and overseas. The CoESPU, on his side, will launch a brand new avant-garde Course in 2019, called “Environmental Protection”, to be constantly in line with UN guidelines. 

In this fourth issue of the CoESPU Journal, among other contribution, we provide an overview on UN environmental management on the field, with a piece of Mrs. Lara Larsen  (Chief of the Environment Section Office of the UN Under Secretary-General), and we focus on possible peacekeeping approach on environmental crimes, with the contribution of Karen J. Finkenbinder (Rule of Law, Justice &  Reconciliation Advisor The Peacekeeping & Stability Operations Institute). You’ll find, moreover, an overview of national and international laws seeking to transform Nature from object to entity with legal rights and an interesting deepening about the relation between environment protection and malnutrition.

Wishing you a happy reading, please let my invite you all to get in touch with the Magazine editorial staff, to explore the chance, if you wish, to give a written contribution to next numbers.

B. Gen. Giovani P. BARBANO

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