Secretary-General's memo to staff on the launch of Greening the Blue

4 June 2010


Dear colleagues

On World Environment Day three years ago, I announced my intention to make United Nations Headquarters in New York a cutting-edge example of energy efficiency and sustainable resource use.  With the Capital Master Plan currently under way, the Organization has a unique opportunity to act on the environmental principles that we consistently advocate.

This matter goes well beyond the renovation of the Secretariat complex.  It is a direction in which the entire United Nations must go, leading by example.  Therefore I also asked the heads of all UN agencies, funds and programmes to join in a collective effort to move the United Nations towards climate neutrality and environmental sustainability.

We have made significant progress. 

The Chief Executives Board (CEB) approved a UN Climate Neutral Strategy committing all UN agencies to measure and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

The UN system conducted its first greenhouse gas inventory, which was made public at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference in December 2009.

We are also in the process of preparing the first generation of emission reduction plans for all UN organizations, which will be published in 2011.

I thank all who have played a part in making this progress possible.  Today, in conjunction with this year’s observance of World Environment Day, we take another step forward with the launch of a new website,  The site brings together the latest information about what the UN system is doing and offers suggestions for individuals and organizations to get involved.

Above all, the site is meant to serve as a platform for taking this initiative further still.  I encourage all staff to visit, post your questions and comments and get more deeply involved in this effort.  I look forward to working with you to make our organization and its activities a beacon for environmental sustainability.

With best wishes,

Ban Ki-moon

Download the pdf of the memo here