The Embassy of Ukraine in the Republic of Kenya, with support of the United Nations Environment Program, organized November 6, 2017, at the headquarters of the UN Office in Nairobi, an event to observe the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict.
The commemorative event was held with a view to maintain the topic of the environmental protection in areas affected by armed conflicts on the international organizations’ agenda, as well as to encourage Member States to implement provisions of the relevant international law.
The Director-General of the UNON Madame Zahle-Work Zewde noted that the event became the first official commemoration of this International Day at the UN compound in Nairobi and thanked the Ukrainian Embassy for this initiative. She also delivered this year's Message by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres occasioned to mark this International Day.
Remarks were also made by Deputy Executive Director of the UN Environment Mr. Ibrahim Thiaw who emphasized the need to consolidate international efforts to prevent and respond to negative environmental consequences as a result of armed conflicts that are taking place today in different parts of the world.
Ambassador of Kuwait H.E. Mr. Qusai Al-Farhan reminded of his country's contribution to the elaboration and adoption in 2001 of the UN General Assembly resolution which established this International Day.
Ambassador of Iraq H.E. Mr. Zaid Noori and Deputy Head of the EU Mission in Nairobi Mr. Sebastian Gil in their remarks acknowledged significance of the international efforts on conflicts and the environment and commended active work of the Ukrainian Embassy on this track, which began with the adoption in May 2016 of the framework resolution of the UN Environment Assembly "Protection of the environmental in areas affected by armed conflict"
Ambassador of Ukraine to Kenya H.E. Mr. Yevhenii Tsymbaliuk recognized the importance of abiding by respective international obligations and the need for implementation of relevant resolutions and agreements. He also emphasized urgency and applicability of this topic to Ukraine by drawing attention of the audience to the latest report of Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in Ukraine and in the Trilateral Contact Group Amb. Martin Sajdik about major environmental damage with incalculable consequences following shelling of the Donetsk Water Filtration Station. He also expressed Ukraine’s commitment to continue its work on the issue of conflicts and the environment.
On the occasion of this day, UN Environment also initiated publication in The Guardian of the Op-Ed on this topic by Executive Director Mr. Erik Solheim, which, among other things, mentioned that three and a half years of fighting in the heavily industrialized Ukraine has contaminated the groundwater.
UN Environment also used the opportunity of the event to announce Massive Open Online Course on @Environmental Security & Sustaining Peace".
The event was widely covered by the United Nations Information Center.