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Environment and sustainability

We recognize the potential damage that our camps and operations can have on the environment, as well as on the local economy and on relations with host communities.

A peacekeeper standing alone in the desert.

UN Photo/Martine Perret

A Honduran Military Liaison Officer with MINURSO during a patrol in the vicinity of Mijek, Western Sahara.

The urgent deployment of thousands of civilian, police and military personnel requires a very large amount of logistical support. Often the countries in which peacekeeping personnel operate have very little infrastructure. All these UN people produce liquid and solid waste which, if not treated and disposed properly, can have an impact on the local environment.

Peacekeeping missions that are temporary and deployed in remote areas often generate their own power and use aircraft that consume a lot of fuel, emit greenhouse gases and possibly cause some soil pollution.

In some areas like Darfur or Chad, where water is a scarce resource, the local community may see the UN mission as a resource competitor.

The Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and the Department of Field Support (DFS) recognize this potential damage and as a result have jointly developed an overarching policy to deal with environmental issues. This fits into the wider UN Secretary General’s Greening the Blue initiative.

Conflict and resources

DPKO recognises that the environment, natural resources and the impact of climate change can all be drivers for conflict.

Our approach

DPKO and the DFS are actively working towards ensuring environmental sustainability.

Sharing best practice

Identifying environmental challenges and best practices helps the continuous improvement of our field operations.