UNEP and DFS win climate neutrality award

Thu, 04/08/11


The UN Secretary-General presented the Department of Field Support (DFS) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) with the UN21 Award for Moving Towards Climate Neutrality, during a ceremony at the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium at UN Headquarters in New York.

Held every year, the UN 21 Awards recognize outstanding initiatives by UN teams or individual staff members to improve the delivery of the Organization's programmes and promote its values.

"When the UN21 Awards was initiated 15 years ago, the idea was to honour initiatives that would help prepare the UN for the twenty-first century", said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

"We are now well into the twenty-first century, but the purpose of the Awards remains as relevant as ever. We are an evolving Organization, always eager to find better ways of doing business, implement best practices and strengthen the work we do for the world's people", he added.


DFS recognized for a host of measures to reduce carbon emissions of UN field operations.

In 2010, DFS developed the UN Greenhouse Gas (GHG) calculator, which is now being used by the whole UN system to develop GHG inventories.

Peacekeeping missions are responsible for 56% of the total UN-wide carbon footprint, mainly through air travel, power generation and road transport. DFS has recently put in place system contracts to acquire more efficient generators as well as a Photovoltaic/Diesel Hybrid power supply system, which will reduce fuel consumption in field operations, resulting in both cost reduction and environmental efficiency.

The Global Field Support Strategy (GFSS) also includes measures to contribute to this effort. By June 2012, the Transportation and Movement Integrated Control Centre (TMICC) in Entebbe is expected to reduce approximately 11% of aviation emissions by optimizing flight planning at a regional level. In addition, the GFSS modularization approach also incorporates the concept of energy efficiency for accommodation and ablution units in the field through improved insulation and an increased reliance on renewable energy for the overall mission power supply,

A training programme on “Natural Resources management in Post-Conflict Countries” (developed in cooperation with UNITAR, UNEP and IISD) has also commenced with 25 Environmental Focal Points from various Missions. In addition, in line with the objectives of the DPKO/DFS Environmental Policy, the partnership with UNEP has led to Environmental Assessment reports offering energy, water and waste reduction options for, inter alia, headquarters and support bases in Mogadishu, Somalia and Mombasa, Kenya.

UNEP recognized for its continuing efforts to advance sustainability initiatives across the UN system.

UNEP, which has been climate neutral since 2008, is at the forefront of ongoing sustainability efforts within the United Nations. Last year, it became the first UN organization to publish an Emission Reduction Strategy that included the goal of reducing emissions by 3% per annum in 2010-12 (from 2009 levels). Implementing efficiency measures could save UNEP an estimated US$800,000 per year.

In addition, the new facilities that house UNEP and UN-HABITAT headquarters in Nairobi, set a new benchmark for sustainable buildings when it opened its doors on March 2011. These new offices boast a myriad of environmentally-friendly features, including 6,000 square meters of solar panels, eco-friendly paint and rainwater collection systems. The building is also "energy neutral", which means it generates as much power (via renewable sources) as it consumes over the course of a year. Energy consumption is estimated at 42.5 kWh per square meter each year, which ranks highly among green buildings worldwide.

Earlier this year, UNEP coordinated a project for the publication of the total greenhouse gas emissions for 52 UN institutions, covering 200,000 employees, as part of ongoing efforts to reduce the Organization's carbon footprint. UNEP has also provided advice to other UN organizations on how to reduce emissions through the Sustainable United Nations facility.

The “Greening the Blue” initiative, coordinated by UNEP, was launched in 2010.  Its aim is to bring together the most up to date information on sustainability within the UN and to offer suggestions for both staff members and external organizations towards achieving climate neutrality.