Remarks by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield at a U.S.-Hosted Side Event on Improving Environmental Management in Peacekeeping the UN Peacekeeping Ministerial in Accra, Ghana
Good afternoon, everyone, and thank you for joining us today.
We know that preserving peace and protecting our planet go hand in hand, that climate change exacerbates armed conflict, and that war wreaks havoc on the environment. But there’s another factor at play here. And that’s the environmental impact of peacekeeping itself.
Today, peacekeeping is responsible for 92 percent of the United Nations’ carbon footprint – 92 percent. By continuing down this path, we risk exacerbating the conflicts that we hope to contain.
But what happens when we transition from fossil fuels to more renewable energy resources? Well, for one, we’re able to reduce one of the biggest risks to peacekeepers in the high-threat missions that they work in: delivering fuel along dangerous routes.
By adopting new practices to switch to clean energy, peacekeepers can reduce strain on the fragile countries in which they operate and strengthen relationships with local communities. And improving environmental management can even help deliver peace dividends to those very communities, by leaving behind infrastructure to support a greener future.
In other words, cleaner and greener missions can help protect peacekeepers and can help promote peace around the world.
The United States is committed to this work, including through a trilateral solar power project with Nepal and the United Nations, which will replace traditional diesel generations with cleaner alternatives. We are proud to support this initiative.
But we also know we cannot do this alone. We need to create new partnerships and strengthen existing ones; whether it’s working together to prioritize clean energy, better manage waste and wastewater, or build greener infrastructure.
Friends, conflict and environmental exploitation are inextricably linked. But if there’s hope, it’s that the opposite is also true: that peacekeeping and preservation are mutually reinforcing. Together, we can create both a peace and a planet that are sustainable in the same sense of the word.
Thank you very much.