Environment is a global public good and a prerequisite for the enjoyment of human rights. Environment has no respect for international boundaries and borders, and belongs to all countries and peoples. However the capacity of environment is limited and a common issue for the entire mankind is to conserve this limited global environment so that all people on earth (and coming generations) can enjoy a healthy life.
Right to Healthy Environment
The right to a healthy and sustainable environment is getting increasing importance in the light of climate change concerns. With fast-changing geo-political situations and ever-increasing conflicts, conservation of the environment has become a critical factor for building and maintaining peace, reducing poverty, maintaining and improving health, and fostering sustainable development.
Environmental problems, in developed as well as developing countries, have become more complicated and serious in recent years. Industrial pollution, rise in temperature, changing weather patterns, acid rain, depletion of ozone layer, rise in sea level, outbreak of diseases, species extinction are good examples to prove that environmental health is a global issue that concerns all nations of the world.
Significance of International Solidarity
International solidarity in environmental conservation has assumed greater importance in recent years as relationships between various countries, economies and societies have become more interdependent and symbiotic. International solidarity is essential for solving environmental issues afflicting the developed countries as well as developing world. The international environmental agreements and treaties negotiated in the last few decades reflect international solidarity in protecting and maintaining global environmental, however there is still a long way to go.
Contemporary environmental challenges demand a visionary approach to achieve sustainable development, strengthen international solidarity and preserve peace and stability. Infact, international initiatives to conserve natural resources will foster peace-building efforts between warring parties and may also encourage positive interaction and strong bonding among nations.
A good example of international solidarity in environmental conflict resolution is sharing of water resources which engage disputing parties in a meaningful dialogue, as in the Nile river case. Another important area is conservation of biodiversity in disputed areas which may assist in peace-building, thereby fostering closer cooperation between local communities.
International solidarity in environment protection has the potential to unite community-based groups in different countries, fighting similar environmental problems, in order to streamline their efforts. Civil society groups, due to their effectiveness and efficiency, play a key role in environmental conservation in any nation. For example, NGOs can enhance the chances of sustainable peace by increasing environmental awareness and motivating local communities to participate in environmental cooperation programs.
To sum up, if environmental degradation can trigger conflict and violence, then international environmental cooperation can be a handy tool for sustainable development and peace-building. However, it would require active participation of all sectors of society and all types of people including workers, corporates, law-makers, farmers, students, teachers, researchers, social activists and indigenous communities.
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