Department of Field Support (DFS)

DFS HQ: New York, United States
Inventory data for UN Logistics Base, Brindisi, Italy in 2008
Number of staff in UN LB in 2008: 500

Key Figures for 2008

Total emissions: 3,075 tonnes CO2 equivalent
Emissions per staff member: 6.1 tonnes CO2 equivalent
Emissions from air travel: 276 tonnes CO2 equivalent
Air travel as a proportion of total emissions: 9%
Air travel per staff member: 0.6 tonnes CO2
Building-related emissions: 45 kg CO2 equivalent per square metre


“DFS wants to be part of the UN endeavor to tackle climate change; its staff are also willing to lead by example in all the areas where they are working.”

Susana Malcorra, Under-Secretary-General, Department of Field Support (DFS)

Under-Secretary-General’s message

“During my first town hall meeting with staff as DFS Under-Secretary-General in June 2008, I mentioned the environment as being a priority of my term. Since then, slowly but surely, the environment is being mainstreamed in DFS activities, both at Headquarters and the field levels. Greenhouse gases are only one part of the peace operations’ footprint, but it is not a small one as operating in remote and harsh areas, we generate most of our own power. DPKO and DFS recently promulgated an Environmental Policy for UN Field Missions, in which optimized use of energy is required inter alia. DFS wants to be part of the UN endeavor to tackle climate change; its staff is also very willing to lead by example in all the areas where they are working.”

Susana Malcorra


The Department of Field Support was created in July 2007 to better support UN peace operations - peacekeeping and special political missions - in terms of logistics, information and communications technology, budget and finance, and personnel. DFS is a key enabler of multidimensional and varied field missions. It works very closely with DPKO and DPA. In 2009, DFS has also been tasked to support the African Union Mission in Somalia.

Experience so far

DFS is encouraging its headquarters staff to make best use of the UN Flex policy. Compressed work schedule and telecommuting are two possible options, which besides reducing the office’s footprint, also improve the efficiency and happiness of staff who are already implementing it.

Since 2008 DFS has a position at Headquarters dedicated full-time to environmental issues. Some peacekeeping missions also have such a position. This new environmental network will, among other, monitor GREENHOUSE GAS emissions from the various missions. Both DFS and DPKO Under-Secretaries-General signed the Seal the Deal climate petition and encouraged staff to do so.


DFS will align its policy with a decision to be taken for the UN Secretariat by the Member States.

Reduction efforts

1. Solar panels for ICT equipment are being deployed on some missions’ remote team sites (e.g. Lebanon).

2. The DPKO/DFS Environmental Policy for UN Field Missions, effective since 01 June 2009,  states that the mission “will take measures to ensure that the use of energy is optimized by the mission with the aim to minimize the mission’s greenhouse gas emissions while ensuring enough power for proper functioning.”

3. Electric cars have been bought for the UN Logistic Base in Brindisi, Italy.

4. A Community of Practice on Environmental Management has been set up for all missions to share best practices and experiences; an intranet webpage with green tips has also been put in place.

5. To avoid too much mission-related travel, many meetings with various sections of Headquarters are done through video teleconferences (VTCs). Most DPKO/DFS meeting rooms are equipped with such facilities.

Next Steps

DFS is working on the implementation of the DPKO/DFS Environmental Policy for UN Field Missions and will provide in 2010 more detailed Environmental Guidelines as well as practical tools for the missions to do so. We are working in close cooperation with UNEP which gives us their environmental expertise on our support strategy.

Staff behaviour can help improve our footprint; therefore we will carry out awareness-raising and training.

DFS is also improving its reporting systems and a Mission Information Management System will be set up in 2010 for all missions. We hope to include greenhouse gas reporting in this system in the next phase. This would help us to monitor better greenhouse gases in different areas and react accordingly, when rules, procedures and budget make it possible. Following the 2008 greenhouse gas emissions inventory exercise, it is also planned to develop a DFS-wide emissions reduction strategy by the end of 2010, in which the various sections shall propose strategies in their areas of expertise.

At New York Headquarters, DFS is fully supportive of the ‘Greening the UN’ initiative of the Secretary General and will support any related propositions to ‘green’ the Secretariat.


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