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40 percent of internal conflicts linked to natural resources

Staff Writer |
The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) said that over the last 60 years, 40 percent of all internal conflicts have been linked to the exploitation of natural resources.

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Monday marks the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict.

The UNEP said that conflict has led to the pollution of water, torching of crops and vegetation, cutting down forests and poisoning of soils.

It has also resulted into the killing of animals as a way to earn military advantage. Such destruction not only drives many of the earth's species into extinction, it also destabilizes the climate.

In countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo, high-value resources such as minerals have caused conflict by being a source of funds for armed groups and by compounding poverty levels in communities in the country and around the region.

The same can be said of Sierra Leone, where diamond and other minerals fuelled conflict. According to the UNEP, this war caused or aggravated many environmental problems.

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