“This war is a crime. A crime against the environment” – HLPF2022 intervention

Our partner Svitlana Slesarenok, from NGO Black Sea Women’s Club from Odesa in Ukraine, was speaking truth to power at the High Level Political Forum on sustainable development yesterday, addressing decision-makers at the United Nations.

Read her speech in full below.

“Thank you, moderator, dear delegates,

I am Svitlana Slesarenok, I represent an environmental NGO from Odessa. Today I speak to you as a refugee from the war in Ukraine. …Today, we have 8 million refugees who left Ukraine, and 8 million internally displaced people, — mostly women and children. … For the last 30 years, I have worked for sustainable development in our region. Sustainable green city, more sustainable country – It was our dream. And then, the war started.

…We must clearly understand that this war is not a war only against Ukraine, it is a war against sustainable development of our planet, against the SDGs, against humanity, and against the common values we developed together. This war is a crime. A crime against the environment, against a sustainable and inclusive common future. There is nothing more unsustainable for our planet than war and militarism. There is no sustainability without peace. There is no peace without sustainability.

… Ukraine is burning because of the war; our planet is burning because we extracting fossil fuels. War in my country is directly linked to oil and gas. We call on you to stop using oil and gas. We call on you to end all investments in fossil fuels… now!
Today, here at the UN, we are speaking about “Leaving no one behind”. It means that UN member states commit to protecting and respecting the human rights of all people independent of their background, ethnicity, gender, sexual identity, HIV/Aids status, race, or citizenship. It means that the UN Member States must respect the sovereignty of states.

I hope, I dream this is the last colonial war on our planet. I would like to hope together with you that it is the last war on our planet. We should find solutions for making real this our common hope.

…War has stolen our dreams. We need together to stop the war. We need you to respect and uphold international law. We need you to build peace and protect our environment, our common values: for a healthy planet for the prosperity of all – this is our common responsibility.

Thank you.”

Watch her intervention here:


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