Nairobi, 9 November 2010 - As part of a concerted effort to 'green' UN peacekeeping operations, an intensive training programme for UN peacekeeping missions on environmental matters is underway at UNEP headquarters in Nairobi.
According to the 2009 UN Greenhouse Gas inventory, UN Field Missions globally account for 56% of UN total greenhouse gas emissions.
The training in Nairobi will equip UN Field Mission staff with the tools to address environmental issues related to the work and mandate of UN peacekeeping missions.
Participating in the four-day course are 25 environmental focal points representing all current peacekeeping missions and six representatives from national peacekeeping training centres (from Ghana, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, India, Malaysia and the African Union).
It is the first stage of a capacity building programme on "Natural Resources Management in Post-Conflict Countries" developed by UNEP in partnership with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD).
A study by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), Department of Field Support (DFS) and United Nations Support Office for the African Union Mission in Somalia (UNSOA) demonstrated that significant savings in energy and water inputs and waste outputs can be achieved by mainstreaming environmental concerns in the design and operation of UN peacekeeping camps.
Improving the environmental management of UN Field Missions will not only contribute to better troop protection and security, but can also help to maximise the sustainability of base camps, reduce costs and ensure the maintenance of good community relations.
As part of its ongoing efforts to support the UN-wide "Greening the Blue" campaign, UNEP has collaborated with the UN Department of Peacekeeping and Field Support to assist in the implementation of an Environmental Policy launched in 2009.
The module will be integrated into the UNITAR Peacekeeping Training Programme for pre-deployed peacekeepers.
The training is the latest UNEP-led initiative aimed at making relief and recovery operations more environmentally-sound to help ensure that both human welfare and the environment are protected and conserved in response to a conflict or disaster.