UN: UN launches new strategy to protect environment in peace operations

New York, US (PANA) - In order to enhance environmental protection and management in the work of peacekeeping missions, the UN Department of Field Support (DFS) on Wednesday launched a new strategy to maximize its peace operations' efficiency in the use of natural resources, and to minimize their risk to people, societies and ecosystems.

Speaking at the launch in New York, UN Under Secretary-General and the head of DFS, Mr. Atul Khare, said: "Environmental performance is crucial to ensure that we do no harm to the people we are mandated to protect. We need to change our systems and we need to change our mind set."

He noted that DFS is the key service provider to international peacekeeping operations, supporting both UN and non-UN peace missions, with nearly 168,000 authorized personnel, in over 30 countries.

"The six-year strategy, which is in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), identifies challenges and objectives based on five pillars: energy, water and waste water, solid waste, wider impact, and environmental management systems. It also includes key performance indicators for these areas.

"In its first phase – through July 2020 – the strategy will focus on improving environmental analytics to effectively monitor progress. The five pillars will then be reviewed and specific targets set for the second phase of strategy implementation to conclude in June 2023," he stated.

On one of the areas covered – energy - an indispensable aspect for a UN peacekeeping mission but one that also has an environmental impact, Mr. Khare said the strategy's objective is to reduce overall demand through increased efficiency, increase the proportion of energy from renewable sources such as solar arrays and reduce the level of pollution.

In another area – water, the UN official highlighted the objective is to conserve water and reduce the level of risk to personnel, local communities and ecosystems from waste water management practices.

He also emphasized the importance of proper treatment of waste water, as well as of frequent monitoring of disposal practices, noting that, "the strategy is a living document, it will continue to be refined and improved in light of new information and achievements."

He also added that other relevant initiatives are already under way to decrease peace operations' environmental impact.
-0- PANA AA/VAO 30Nov2016

30 november 2016 15:48:41

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