Upon request, UNEP’s Environmental Cooperation for Peacebuilding Programme assists member states, the UN system and other actors in a range of activities related to the four main pillars of work. This typically involves conducting assessment missions, delivering training and providing technical assistance with mixed teams of international and national experts.
Conflict Prevention, Peacebuilding and Natural Resources
With regards to Conflict Prevention, Peacebuilding and Natural Resources, UNEP’s field support initially focused on the agenda countries of the UN Peacebuilding Commission, specifically Sierra Leone and the Central African Republic. In both of these countries, UNEP has provided technical analysis and support to peacebuilding plans on a pilot basis. The output documents of both of these field operations were “Central African Republic: Environment, Conflict and Peacebuilding Assessment”, and “Sierra Leone: Environment, Conflict and Peacebuilding Assessment.”
In 2012, UNEP conducted a risk and opportunity assessment related to natural resources in Afghanistan at the request of the UN country team through the EU-UN Partnership on Land and Natural Resource Conflicts.
In 2013, UNEP will work through the EU-UN Partnership on Land and Natural Resource Conflicts to assess risks and opportunities related to natural resources in Cote d’Ivoire as part of a broader UNEP Post-Conflict Environmental Assessment. UNEP will also engage in the Great Lakes region to help build civil society capacity to participate in natural resource decision making, dispute resolution, and concession monitoring.
Greening Peacekeeping Operations
Field operations related to environment and peacekeeping have focused on Somalia, Kenya, South Sudan and DR Congo, assessing the resource-demands and operating practices of various UN peacekeeping bases and camps.
Two of the most detailed assessments were conducted in the proposed peacekeeping camps of the African Union Mission to Somalia in Mogadishu, Somalia and in Mombasa, Kenya. The output document was a technical report titled, “Assessment of Energy, Water and Waste Reduction Options for the Proposed AMISOM HQ camp in Mogadishu, Somalia and the Support Base in Mombasa, Kenya.” A similar technical field assessment has also been carried out for the UN peacekeeping mission’s headquarters in Juba, South Sudan. Furthermore, UNEP has conducted reduced-scope Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) and Environmental Baseline Surveys (EBSs) for the aforementioned new bases in Kenya and Somalia.
In addition to technical assessments, UNEP has delivered several training sessions in the field including a week-long training for environmental officers and focal points from different peacekeeping missions, in Nairobi, Kenya; training for the military and civilian peacekeeping personnel in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo; as well as two, one week-long pre-deployment training sessions for peacekeepers and government officials from Egypt, Morocco, Sudan, Libya and Eritrea at the Cairo Regional Center for Conflict Resolution and Peacekeeping in Africa (CCCPA), in Cairo, Egypt.
Environmental Diplomacy and Mediation
Field operations have focused on assessing the cooperation opportunities and conflict risks related to natural resources in the border zone between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The project, which involved close cooperation with the governments of both Caribbean nations, is looking at existing and potential sources of transboundary tensions over natural resources and determines opportunities for cooperation. A 2013 report, “Haiti-Dominican Republic: Environmental Challenges in the Border Zone” summarized the findings of the field work.
In addition, UNEP has developed a new methodology to assess historical climate change trends and the potential implications for conflict and migration, using the Sahel region as a test case. The report, “Livelihood Security: Climate Change, Migration and Conflict in the Sahel” summarizaes the findings of this work.
UNEP has also previously been involved in other field projects where it has played the role of “neutral” facilitator. Projects include facilitating a dialogue between Iraq and Iran over the Mesopotamian marshlands, organizing technical meetings between Afghan and Iranian authorities over the shared waters in the Sistan basin, as well as conducting a scientific analysis on the oil contamination in Ogoniland in the Niger delta.