Greening the Blue Helmets: Environment, Natural Resources Management in UN Peacekeeping Operations

12 October 2012, Cairo, Egypt – UNITAR continues to pursue its aim of Enhancing the Capacity of Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding Training Institutions in Africa. Building on the success of the pilot project conducted in 2010 – 2011, UNITAR, together with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Cairo Regional Center for Training on Conflict Resolution and Peacekeeping in Africa (CCCPA), respectively the partner and beneficiary institutions, conducted a training course on “Environmental and Natural Resources Management in Peacekeeping Operations” in Cairo, Egypt, from 07 to 12 October 2012. 

The course examined the existing linkages between environment/natural resources, conflict and peacebuilding. It also presented how peacekeeping has an important role to play in tackling the illegal exploitation and trade in natural resources where it continues to destabilize fragile post-conflict countries and it explained how natural resources can serve as opportunities for the socio and economic recovery, provide dividends for peace, and contribute to building sustainable peace.
 
The overall objective of the Natural and Environment Resources Management course was not only to advance a better understanding of the theoretical and practical framework on the Environment and Natural resources management in peace operations, but also to enhance the training capacity of CCCPA through its previously UNITAR-trained trainers and to enable both CCCPA and its trainers to further contribute to the agenda of training thereby creating a knowledge multiplier effect. 
 
As a result of the training activities, the newly-trained trainers took over the training session assisted by subject matter experts from UNEP and UNITAR. The recently-trained candidates took the lead in delivering the course while the experts from UNEP and UNITAR gave assistance and provided technical support. This approach, inspired by the Chair of the PTP Advisory Board’s Chairman, Mr Jean Marie Guéhenno’s paper on “Enhancing capacity in Africa”, gave very positive results.
 
Participants were of a high calibre with military, police, civil society and diplomatic backgrounds. The debates were lively and engaging and participant feedback illustrated the need and interest in this important topic.