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Renewable energy future of UN peace operations

Statement by Ambassador Mona Juul at the virtual event Powering Peace: Toward a Renewable Energy Future for UN Peace Operations, 28 January 2021. The event was hosted by the Permanent Missions of Norway and the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations, and Powering Peace, a partnership between Energy Peace Partners and the Stimson Center.

UN peace operations are deployed in some of the most fragile contexts in the world.

Eight of the ten countries that host the most peacekeepers, are located in areas highly exposed to climate change. Research and experiences from the field show that climate change exacerbates existing vulnerabilities. It can multiply security risks and undermine our efforts to realize the 2030 Agenda - and our core objectives of preventing conflict and sustaining peace. This is why the report before us here today is so important.

Colleagues,

While I will leave it to the authors to more fully outline the details of their work, allow me a few reflections on this important research:

Firstly, we know that energy lies at the heart of both the Paris Agreement and Agenda 2030.

Yet what struck me the most from this report, is how little attention we pay to renewable energy in peace operations, despite its critical role.

Renewable energy can act as an enabler:

· for the UN to reach its climate-related emissions-reduction goal,

· for energy independence in the field operations,

· to keep in line with current policies for peace operations on: the environment, modernization and efficiency,

· and for peace operations to adapt to a security landscape that is increasingly impacted by climate change.

The second thing that stood out, are the opportunities an energy transformation can offer for a broad range of stakeholders:

· to support UN and local peacebuilding efforts,

· to support local renewable-energy capacity building and projects,

· to create socioeconomic and peace dividends to local communities and governments that host UN operations,

· and to establish new partnerships – as demonstrated by the successful partnership between UNSOS, and Scatec Solar and Kube.

In short, this transition could contribute directly to at least three SDGs:

· SDG 7 on sustainable energy access;

· SDG 13 on climate action;

· and SDG 16 on peace, justice and strong institutions.

Excellencies, colleagues,

Modernizing and improving the UN’s practices can have many important impacts, in different areas. I hope today’s discussions brings these threads together in a concrete way. Of course, it is up to us – the UN Member States – to ensure that the UN operations have the necessary political commitment, resources and support.

For our part, Norway will follow up on the work already done to ensure that environmental footprints, including the use of energy, is being considered in Council mandated missions.

Excellencies, UN colleagues, friends,

Thank you again for joining us, I very much look forward to hearing more, and to continuing these discussions together.