Richard Wenning, Montrose expert in environmental impact and ecological risk assessment, presents at SETAC Dublin



Richard J. Wenning, Montrose NRDA expert, and Ted Tomasi, Integral environmental economist, gave a presentation at SETAC Dublin on April 24th on A Framework for Post-Conflict Environmental Damage and Restoration Assessment in Ukraine.

Presentation Overview:

The war in Ukraine highlights the social, economic, and environmental crises countries may experience from armed conflicts. The human suffering and degraded conditions may continue or worsen without a systematic, data-driven framework for assessing injuries to natural resource capital, estimating the damages as the costs of appropriate restoration work, and prioritizing the work towards recovery. Studies of post-conflict recovery in other countries suggest that protracted civil strife and social unrest hinder a nation’s ability to recover the economy and restore the quality of life. The severe degradation of agricultural and forested lands, watersheds and public drinking water supplies, and recreation and tourism infrastructure prolongs the suffering of civilian populations. This can lead to further stresses and threats, especially if lingering uncertainties exist in the political, economic, and financial sectors. Environmental assessment approaches used in the US, European Union, and by the United Nations and international aid and finance organizations to evaluate the consequences of industrial accidents, natural disasters, and armed conflicts are a good starting point for developing an internationally accepted method that satisfies legal, political, and donor organization requirements. In this presentation, we describe the attributes of different environmental assessment approaches and lessons learned from post-conflict assessments in the Balkans, Kuwait, and elsewhere.

From this foundation, we offer recommendations for a unified and collaborative damage assessment process supporting the long-term and sustainable recovery of Ukraine’s environment. The aim is to help national and local government authorities to optimize available financial and public resources, promote rapid recovery of the national and international business community, and contribute to restoring stability and safety of the civilian population during the recovery of national and local economies. Little is known about how countries experiencing crisis can recover and become more resilient to future threats, including armed conflict. These situations need new risk and resilience assessment methodologies and effective supporting legal frameworks to promote a national economy’s efficient and systematic recovery.

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