|Protecting the environment in conflicts is a crucial need and a shared responsibility of the international community (Photo: Getty)
Quy made the statement at an online discussion jointly held by the Vietnamese Mission to the UN, the Swiss Mission to the UN, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the peace organisation PAX on May 29 in response to the UN Protection of Civilians Week.
He stressed the need for States to pay attention to restore the environment after conflicts to help civilians soon stabilise their life and maintain sustainable peace.
He told participants that Agent Orange/dioxin has caused serious impact on Vietnam’s population and the environment, as over 3 million Vietnamese people are dioxin victims and hundreds of thousands of hectares of land are contaminated by the chemical.
Meanwhile, addressing dioxin consequences needs huge resources and time, he added.
The diplomat took the occasion to thank UN member states, organisations and the international community for supporting Vietnam in dioxin detoxification and helping dioxin victims.
Delegates at the event emphasised the need for more discussions at UN and UN Security Council mechanisms on environmental protection in armed conflicts as there is a close connection between protection of the environment, protection of civilians, and development goals.
They said that the COVID-19 pandemic is causing negative impacts on the health systems and people’s health as well as reducing national resources for environment-related issues. However, it creates a chance for leaders to review and pay more attention to issues on security and peace.
Emilia Wahlstrom, a policy expert at the UNEP, urged providing conflict-affected civilians and communities with access to information related to environmental issues in conflicts, while stressing the importance of intensifying information sharing between nations and coordination between UN agencies.