UNFICYP commemorates World Environment Day

18 Jun 2019

UNFICYP commemorates World Environment Day

On 12 June 2019, the UNFICYP Environmental Committee organized numerous activities to commemorate World Environment Day. The event included outdoor activities such as bicycle orienteering and a safety ride as well as a walk around the UN Protected Area in Nicosia, Cyprus. 

More than 100 UNFICYP peacekeepers, civilian, military and police, participated in these activities.

This was followed by a briefing to Mission personnel attended by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and Head of Mission, Elizabeth Spehar; UNFICYP Force Commander, Major General Cheryl Pearce; Acting Senior Police Adviser, Dongxu Su; the Chief of Mission Support (CMS), Joel Cohen as well as UNFICYP personnel.

In her opening remarks, SRSG Spehar highlighted UNFICYP’s consistent efforts to comply with United Nations’ environmental policies and management strategies and stated that the Mission remains deeply committed to this cause. She made special mention of the Mission’s focus on minimizing the impact of its operations on the environment, promoting environmental protection awareness and identifying ways of engaging with local communities in connection with environmental activities and projects.

“The environment is germane to our peace efforts here in Cyprus. The concept of 'environmental peace-building' is close to my heart and one of my priority areas for our inter-communal work going forward,” said SRSG Spehar, adding that environmental challenges are a non-political, cross-cutting topic that knows no borders, concerning everyone equally.

For his part, Joel Cohen, CMS, spoke about this year’s theme – Beat Air Pollution— and urged everyone to consider making small changes in their everyday lives to reduce air pollution. In this context, he touched upon UNFICYP initiatives that specifically target air pollution, such as acquisition of “clean” generators, hybrid vehicles and using bicycles within sectors and for patrolling. “This morning’s activities provided an opportunity for us to roll up our sleeves and do our share in promoting a healthier way of life – something that both we and our planet will benefit from,” said Mr. Cohen in closing.

The briefing concluded with a presentation on air pollution in Cyprus and innovative approaches to control it by Theodoros Christoudias from the Cyprus Institute.

World Environment Day is annually celebrated worldwide on 5 June.