More solar panels to power UNAMA headquarters
KABUL - As part of UNAMA’s commitment and continuing work to reduce dependence on fossil fuel, including limiting its environmental footprint in Afghanistan, the UN political mission is installing more solar panels in its main compound in Kabul.
The installation of additional 900 solar panels will generate 300-kilowatt electricity, bringing the mission’s total green energy generation to around one megawatt, a figure that includes our several field offices.
The source of about 10 per cent of the mission’s total energy needs is through green initiatives. This means 132 tonnes less carbon emissions annually.
The key UNAMA green initiatives include solar farms, replacement of old technology air-conditioners with new environment-friendly units, installation of air quality monitoring devices, as well as the planting of native tree species in all UNAMA compounds.
Such initiatives correspond to the UN Secretariat’s Environmental Policy for Peacekeeping Operations and Field-Based Special Political Missions of 1 April 2022, which calls field missions to “identify, plan and budget” initiatives that achieve at least a 25 per cent reduction in absolute and per capita greenhouse gas emissions by 2025, and 45 per cent by 2030.
“All new, upgraded or retrofitted electricity generation systems shall be based on, or include, renewable energy sources, unless it is demonstrated that renewable energy solutions are not viable for operational reasons, or do not provide value to the UN from a total cost of ownership perspective,” the policy stated.
According to UN Environment Programme’s 2021 Greening the Blue report on the share of total UN Secretariat carbon emissions in 2020, UNAMA accounted for the joint lowest of emitters.
UNAMA Chief Mission Support Jorge Goncalves said the actions taken by UNAMA have contributed to positive change across the five pillars of the environment strategy: energy, water and wastewater, solid waste, wider impact, and environmental management system.
“As resource constrained as we are, the results show a positive trajectory," said Mr. Goncalves. "There is much more that can be done and by acting together, remaining conscious of like Sustainable Development Goal 12 - sustainable consumption and production - I am confident we will reach the targets and make a real difference.”