PAX receives Al-Moumin Award for Environmental Peacebuilding  

Image: Oil fire in Qayyarah, in Mosul District, Iraq, 9 November 2016 wikicommons

July 20, 2023

PAX is proud to announce that it is jointly awarded the Al Moumin Award for Thought Leadership in Environmental Peacebuilding by the Environmental Peacebuilding Association(EnvPAX) PAX received the award for their ongoing leadership in monitoring, quantifying, and redressing the environmental impacts of war. Over the last decade, PAX has invested in building evidence to inform decision making and norm building on protecting the environment in relation to armed conflicts.  PAX receives this award together with the Conflict and Environment Observatory.   

Identify and monitor war-linked damages to the environment

The Al-Moumin Award is named after Iraq’s first Minister of Environment, Miskhat Al-Moumin, who faced significant risk for working on women’s right issues in her home country, before she had to flee.  The work of PAX on environment, peace and security started in Iraq in 2010,  working with local and international partners to highlight the public health concerns linked with toxic remnants of war. The lack of information on the environmental consequences of the war inspired us to develop an environmental open-source methodology to better identify and monitor war-linked damages to the environment and people depending on it, often with the pioneering work by Bellingcat and supported by the open-source research community. 

Since then, the research has put a range of conflict-linked environmental issues in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, South-Sudan and Ukraine on the international agenda. The information support the broader policy outreach of PAX through both the humanitarian and international community. Research-based advocacy has been instrumental in calling for better responses and strong international norms to foster protection of the environment in relation to armed conflicts.  

‘We are immensely honoured and proud of receiving this award for our work, which has not been possible without the support of our partners in conflict-affected countries, and the collaborative efforts through the open-source community,’ says Wim Zwijnenburg, project leader of the Environment, Peace and Security Project, ‘The award is also a further encouragement to continue to build partnerships and share knowledge on means and methods that helps conflict-affected communities to highlight these concerns. We’re just at the beginning of a journey to build a meaningful international approach that protects people, the planet and peace.’

The intersections between conflict, ecosystems, and communities

In its announcement,  EnvPAX stated that both organisations are ‘leading the way in creating and disseminating knowledge about the environmental impacts of political violence – and, in particular, building a data-driven evidence base quantifiably documenting the intersections between conflict, ecosystems, and communities.’ While also underscoring that ‘the work of CEOBS and PAX is especially exciting from a thought leadership perspective for their use of GIS and other contemporary scientific methods to collect, analyze, and communicate data. By quantifiably measuring and making known ecosystem impacts such as pollution rates, greenhouse gas emissions, and species population, these teams are furthering the case for global attention to environmental peacebuilding. Their work directly supports and informs science-based policy around these themes.’

The Eighth Al-Moumin Distinguished Lecture on Environmental Peacebuilding will be presented at a special event about Analyzing the Environmental Impacts of Political Violence: Challenges and Opportunities for Data Technologies, to be hosted by EnPAx on 19 September 2023, 1-4pm UTC. The event will include presentations from CEOBS and PAX, as well as reflections and interventions from a variety of practitioners and scholars. In addition to an online livestream, community hubs around the world will feature in-person networking and related side-events as part of the day.  

In 2017 PAX also received the UNOCHA/UNEP Green Star Award in the category  Response for leadership in the protection of civilians from environmental pollution during war and armed conflict and commitment to building peace with justice.   

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