A new strategy to boost the “environmental performance” of UN peacekeeping missions has been unveiled, which aims to reduce waste and limit their “environmental footprint.”
Under-Secretary-General for Field Support, Atul Khare, set out the new approach to make missions more responsible, in line with the overall 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
In a speech in New York on Wednesday night, Mr Khare said that the UN’s 36 peace operations in 30 countries needed to assume greater responsibility for their environmental impact.
He said his department, known as DFS, wanted to help missions “operate at maximum efficiency in their use of natural resources, and at minimum risk to people, societies and ecosystems.”
Many of the UN’s biggest peacekeeping operations are in fragile environments which are vulnerable to harmful practices such as poor waste disposal.
Recent audits demonstrate that the UN needs to improve its performance in missions which employ 170,000 personnel across the world.
The new strategy identifies key performance indicators to be met by 2020 based on five pillars: energy, water and waste-water, solid waste and environmental management systems.
“We need to change our systems and we need to change our mindset” said the DFS chief, and he said the UN would continuously-assess the new strategy, and make information available to the public, on a regular basis.