The War and the Planet. IPN debate

No people, communities and states remained indifferent to the earthquakes that recently struck Turkey and Syria and claimed tens of thousands of lives there, destroyed entire settlements and condemned other millions of people to enormous inconvenience in their subsequent life. It would be abnormal and even inhuman to believe that such people, communities and states can exist. The question is, why does a part of the people, communities and states approve of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine as a method for solving real or invented, political, geopolitical, economic, historical and any other kind of problems if this has exactly the same destructive effects on the people and human settlements, if not even bigger ones? The experts invited to IPN’s public debate “The War and the Planet” discussed this huge discrepancy and how this unjust war influences the climate, the environment, the planet Earth in general.

Igor Boțan, the permanent expert of IPN’s project, said that the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) was created under the UN system that promotes the coordination of conservation of nature at system level. The program was agreed based on the UN General Assembly’s resolution of December 15, 1972. The major goal of the UNEP is to organize and implement measures designed to protect and improve the environment for the benefit of present and future generations. The slogan of the program is “Environment for Development”. “The UNEP activities include diverse projects in the fields of atmosphere, ecosystems and also plays a significant role in developing international conventions,” noted the expert.

According to him, one year after the start of the war in Ukraine, UNEP issued a press release saying that this war claimed tens of thousands of lives. The preliminary monitoring conducted by the UNEP and its partners in Ukraine last year shows that the future generations will remain with toxic inheritance. Therefore, inspections and assessments will be needed so as to obtain a full picture and to determine the gravity of the impact. As a UN body for environment, the UNEP announced its readiness to assist Ukraine to perform distance monitoring of the impact of the hostilities on the environment.  

“As regards the international institutions responsible for peacekeeping and security, it also goes to the United Nations Organization that was founded in 1945, after World War II, to prevent such conflicts and to also help keep peace, organize all kinds of peacekeeping missions when it is the case. Besides the UN, in the Euro-Atlantic space we also have the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which is an international security organization whose goal is also to prevent conflict and take part in post-conflict rehabilitation where it is necessary. We see that both the OSCE and the UN were unable to prevent this war,” stated Igor Boțan.

The head of the European Green Institute in Moldova Mariana Yatsko, lecturer at the Moldova State University, doctor of political science, said that today mankind is in front of an imminent challenge primarily due to the extension of accelerated economic development that has an impact on the environment. The developments are also influenced by the late actions taken by the states and at international level. This led to climate change, including droughts, torrential rain, sandstorms, hurricanes that actually influence human habitats, ecosystems. 

“The climate change follows a negative trend worldwide. The Republic of Moldova is not bypassed by this. We are witnesses to and feel the fact that these four seasons actually turn into two seasons. We see the heat and lack of precipitation. The economic activity also influences soil, water and air,” explained Mariana Yatsko.

“We must say that the developments in the region, including the war, have a very serious impact. It is very hard to measure the effects of this war on climate, on human health. This will probably be an important task for the future generations.”

The chairman of the Ecologist Green Party Anatolie Prohnitski, retired colonel, noted that Russia practically can use different types of nuclear weapons, tactical and strategic. “Putin, as the supreme commander of the armed forces of the Russian Federation and as the President, has big frustrations about the results of the aggression against Ukraine. Everyone knows that he thought the operation will last for three days, for a week and everything will be solved. But things developed in a different way. He will definitely look for all kinds of solutions,” stated Anatolie Prohnitski.

According to him, the dangers generated by nuclear facilities, such as atomic plants that are not few in Ukraine, should not be excluded. Russia can resort to different evident and hidden methods, with the involvement of different diversion groups. “The danger is very big. Many do not want such a scenario. The leaders of the great world powers in terms of economic and military potential discuss with Putin and inform him. China and other countries consider acting as mediators in the given issue. But the probability is high and the impact can be devastating. The consequences of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster proved this,” said the chairman of the Ecologist Green Party.

“The defense system in the Russian Federation was also activated to prepare special basements for the population. This information is not secret. The administration of the Republic of Moldova also devotes attention to such basements for protecting the population from the effects of a nuclear weapon. The danger exists. We must be realistic either the risk materializes or not. We all hope and want this weapon not to be used as its use will not produce the result wanted even by Putin. Military, civilian units of the Russian Federation did calculations and established that the wind will blow in that direction too. But no one can forecast as nature is changing.”

The public debate entitled “The War and the Planet” was the 275th installment of IPN’s project “Developing Political Culture through Public Debates” that is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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