Desk Study on the Environment in Liberia

A new chapter in the history of Liberia started when the peace agreement in Accra, Ghana, was signed in August 2003. The National Transitional Government of Liberia has been established, and the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Liberia (UNMIL) is helping to reestablish the security in the country. The fighting in Liberia has not only had a devastating impact on its people but also on the country’s rich natural resources and biodiversity. In Liberia, as is the case in many other African countries, resource abundance or scarcity is all too often the catalyst for war and suffering. The Liberian people have been forced to pay a high price for living in a country rich in prized timber and mineral resources. In modern Africa, environment security and effective and fair resource governance are at the very heart of peacemaking and peacekeeping. The misuse of natural resources has not only been a source of conflict in Liberia and the wider region, but has also sustained it. Effective and strong management to promote the sustainable use of natural resources is central to preventing additional conflict in Liberia. For the long-suffering people of Liberia, many of whom have been displaced and separated from their families, this new era provides them with a chance for a better future.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the United Nations agency for the environment. I have been asked many times if in the post-conflict situation – like in Liberia today – it is too early to speak about environment and sustainable development. My experience
is that sustainable development cannot be achieved if one of the three key components of it – economic, social or environmental – is forgotten. In Liberia, the country’s growth is dependent on the management and use of its natural resources: timber, minerals, agriculture
and wildlife. Unfortunately, during the last 14 years of misery we have witnessed the woeful and unsustainable use of Liberia’s natural wealth to buy arms and support conflict. UNEP, as a part of the United Nations Development Group and its Needs Assessment process for Liberia, has managed the cross-cutting sector of environment. Working with United Nations colleagues, the government of Liberia and its agencies and with non-governmental organisations, UNEP has collated environmental background data, which is now published in this desk study. My sincere wish is that as soon as the security situation allows, the comprehensive environmental legislation already prepared by Liberia as well as recommendations of this study can be fully implemented.

Strategic Environmental Policy Assessment FYR of Macedonia: A Review of Environmental Priorities for International Cooperation

The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia stands on the threshold of a new and decisive phase in its history as it looks to emerge from the turmoil of armed conflicts and to begin reconstruction and development. It is at this moment that the opportunity must be seized to base plans for economic growth on the principles of sustainable development. This means integrating environmental considerations into all policy areas at all levels to ensure that everyone living in the FYR of Macedonia can breathe clean air and drink clean water. It means provision of universal and affordable access to sanitation, and solid waste disposal, and it means the conservation of the country’s outstanding natural heritage. Above all, it means creating and maintaining the environmental conditions in which investment, employment, health and peace can flourish.
While this vision can only be achieved by the people and Government of FYR of Macedonia, the international community has a vital role to play. Not only in the provision of funding, capacity building and technical support, but also in pressing for environmental issues to be at the top of the development agenda. The United Nations occupies a special role within the donor community. While having access to a broad range of environmental knowledge and resources, the UN, at the same time, has the flexibility to adapt and pursue a policy agenda that closely reflects the immediate needs of the FYR of Macedonia. As a contribution towards the realisation of sustainable development in the FYR of Macedonia this report has been prepared by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) country office in the FYR of Macedonia. It presents the results of a Strategic Environmental Policy Assessment (SEPA) carried out in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia during September 2001. The SEPA was conducted by UNEP, in response to UNDP’s formal request for a comprehensive review of environmental policy in the country.

From Conflict to Sustainable Development: Assessment and Clean-up in Serbia and Montenegro

As the smoke and dust settled and peace was re-established in what was then the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in the summer of 1999, it was evident that not only had people been through untold pain and suffering but that the environment had suffered as well. However, the extent and nature of the conflict-related damage to the environment and the threats these might pose were unknown.
In response to widely voiced concerns, the United Nations Environment Programme established a task force (the Balkans Task Force) with a mandate to assess objectively and scientifically immediate threats to human health and the environment arising from the conflict.
This was the first time that environmental issues had been recognized and integrated as a central part of the immediate United Nations post-conflict humanitarian effort. In October 1999 UNEP presented its findings in the report entitled The Kosovo Conflict – Consequences for the Environment and Human Settlements. This drew a number of important conclusions on the post-conflict situation in the region and – in particular – singled out four heavily polluted environmental ‘hot spots’ (Pancevo, Kragujevac, Novi Sad and Bor), for immediate humanitarian assistance. This report documents in detail how, during a period of four-and-a-half years (mid-1999 to December 2003) UNEP went about assessing the environmental consequences of the war and implementing a pioneering clean-up project to address serious conflict-related environmental damage.

Afghanistan’s 2007 Environment Law

In January 2007, the final version of the Environment Law came into force. The Law, which has been approved by the National Assembly, is based on international standards which recognize the current state of Afghanistan’s environment while laying a framework for the progressive improvement of governance, leading ultimately to effective environmental management. It is now binding on both the government and the people of Afghanistan.

The purpose of this brochure is to give the Afghan people, and other interested persons, a basic overview as to why and how the Law was developed, and the implications of the Law for the ordinary person and the government. This brochure should therefore be read in conjunction with the Law itself (see Official Gazette No. 912, dated 25 January 2007).