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What is the climate cost of war and conflict?

GLF Live with Iryna Stavchuk and Moosa Elayah

The environmental toll of war and conflict can be farther-reaching and longer-lasting than is immediately apparent. While destruction to landscapes and their caretakers is often evident, less so are other costs: pollution from militaries (some with carbon footprints greater than many countries), the curtailing of beneficial programs and projects, mass displacement of humans, and major shifts in economic and social priorities once turmoil subsides. War can cost a country upwards of 40 percent of its GDP – funds that will then not be invested in protecting the environment or pulling citizens out of poverty.

Against a backdrop of armed and unarmed conflict rippling through multiple regions of the world, the lasting impacts of which are as of yet difficult to comprehend, this GLF Live on 14 April 2022 brought together the Ukrainian deputy minister of environmental protection and natural resources Iryna Stavchuk with conflict and peacebuilding expert Moosa Elayah to compare and contrast what’s happening in different conflict areas and what the true climate costs could be.

Iryna Stavchuk is the deputy minister of environmental protection and natural resources of Ukraine. For more than 10 years, Iryna worked at the National Environmental Center of Ukraine, coordinated work related to the national development and implementation of climate protection policy, and participated in U.N. negotiations on climate change. She founded and chaired the NGO Kyiv Cyclists’ Association. Prior to her appointment to the ministry in 2019, Iryna worked as executive director of the Center for Environmental Initiatives Ecoaction. She also worked as a legal observer on the Board of Directors of the World Bank’s Clean Technology Fund and served as coordinator of the Climate Action Network in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Central Asia.

Dr. Moosa Elayah specializes in international development, peacebuilding and conflict studies at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies (Qatar) as an assistant professor. He also serves as managing editor of the Hakama Journal issued by the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies. He has extensive teaching and research experience in international development administration, peacebuilding, crisis and conflict management, public policy, NGO management, and regional development programs and social protection in post-conflict economies. He is well-versed in broader governance issues in the Arabian Peninsula context as well as the Middle East’s developmental challenges, with ample experience in the public sector on reform issues in the context of conflicting countries.


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