Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO)

DPKO HQ: New York, USA
Inventory data for 20 peacekeeping operations in 2008 and 2009 where data available
Number of staff in peacekeeping operations in 2008: 114,206


Key Figures*

Total emissions: 966,068 tonnes CO2 equivalent
Emissions per staff member: 8.5 tonnes CO2 equivalent
Emissions from air travel: 456,010 tonnes CO2 equivalent
Air travel as a proportion of total emissions: 47%
Air travel per staff member: 4.0 tonnes CO2
Building-related emissions: 246 kg CO2 equivalent per square metre
* 2008 data amended for available locations


“It is important and our duty that when peacekeepers arrive in the countries where we operate, they lead by example in our overall environmental management.”

Alain Le Roy, Under-Secretary-General, Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO)

Under-Secretary-General’s message

“Climate change is unfortunately already happening, affecting millions of people, mostly in areas where they are already suffering. If we do not tackle it, it can only worsen. Fighting over highly valued or scarce natural resources is also among the causes of some conflicts (e.g. Liberia, DR Congo or Darfur). Some studies already show that climate change can be a "threat multiplier for instability" in some countries. It is therefore important and our duty that when peacekeepers arrive in the countries where we operate, they lead by example in our overall environmental management. And as One UN, it is our responsibility to contribute to the Millennium Development Goal 7 ‘Ensuring Environmental Sustainability’.”

Alain Le Roy 


United Nations peacekeeping is a unique and dynamic instrument developed by the UN as a way to help countries torn by conflict create the conditions for lasting peace. UN peacekeeping missions are authorized by the Security Council. Since 1948 there have been a total of 63 UN peacekeeping operations around the world. DPKO continues to evolve, both conceptually and operationally, to meet new challenges and political realities.

Experience so far

Some of the peacekeeping greenhouse gas footprint will be difficult to minimize, as the essence of our activity consists of military operations and their troops rotation by air travel, or access to remote areas by air where road infrastructure may not exist. Thirteen peacekeeping missions participated in the UNEP’s Billion Tree Campaign and have pledged 117,848 trees to be planted by the end of 2009.

Reduction efforts 

1. DPKO 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 effciency and happiness of staff.

2. In order to avoid too much travel in missions, many meetings with them and various sections of Headquarters are done through video-teleconferences (VTCs). Most of DPKO/DFS meeting rooms are equipped with such facilities.

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

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

5. Some peacekeeping missions have already created green committees to give a local response to environmental issues, including greenhouse gas emissions.

6. Awareness-raising has been done through a town hall meeting for all staff on environmental issues and regular broadcast emails remind staff to switch off their appliances and lights when they leave the office after work.


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

Next Steps

The DPKO/DFS Environmental Policy for UN Field Missions, effective since 1 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.”

DPKO case studies
DPKO and sustainability