The sheer size of today’s peacekeeping operations places considerable demands on the environment and natural resources in post-conflict countries that often lack basic infrastructure to cope with these pressures. Close to 120,000 peacekeepers serving across 15 missions are responsible for over half of the total UN’s greenhouse gas emissions, produce over 180 tonnes of solid waste daily and consume 10 million litres of water every day. 

Against this background, the primary objective of this programme is to decrease the overall consumption of natural resources and the production of waste, and thereby reduce potential conflicts with local communities, protect local environmental health and establish the UN as a role model for sustainable practices. Furthermore, the implementation of resource-efficient practices, technologies and behaviours in the field is demonstrated to have a significant potential to reduce the cost of peacekeeping while improving self-sufficiency and resilience.

During 2011-2012, UN Environment and UN Peacekeeping cooperated to assess the implementation of the 2009 environmental policy in the field. The assessment involved 15 peace keeping missions, looking at both good practice and challenges in compliance. The report found that despite a number of positive developments, the implementation of the policy was ‘ad-hoc and limited’. It called on a step-change in technological investments and training needed to Green the Blue.

The new UN strategy commenced in 2017, which intends, by June of 2023, to realise the Peacekeeping vision for the deployment of “responsible missions that achieve maximum efficiency in their use of natural resources and operate at minimum risk to people, societies and ecosystems; contributing to a positive impact on these wherever possible.” UN Peacekeeping will provide USD 6.9 million of financing to UN Environment to create a technical assistance facility to support the vision and strategy, chiefly through the provision of hands-on technical assistance to missions in the field. The project will provide technical support in five main areas:

Energy

  • Energy efficiency in power generation, transport and buildings
  • Renewable energy
  • Green House Gas accounting

Water and Wastewater

  • Wastewater management, particularly sewage treatment
  • Potable water supply and use

Waste

  • Solid waste management, including hazardous waste

Wider Impact

  • Land use and rehabilitation
  • Protection of wildlife and biodiversity
  • Integration of environment, climate and conflict dynamics into mission planning and mandate development, as well as camp design
  • Socio-economic and cultural impacts of mission operations

Environmental Management Systems (EMS)

  • Design and implementation of Environmental Management Systems
  • Data collection, analysis and logistics
  • Investment needs and budget preparations
  • System contracts and use of contractors
  • Inputs to Contingent-Owned Equipment (COE) Manual
  • Training, awareness and communications to support cultural change

Contact: Andrew Morton