IRENA and the UN Agree to Advance Renewables in Peacekeeping Operations

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the United Nations (UN) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) today to advance the use of host-country generated renewable energy in peacekeeping missions.

Under the agreement, IRENA and the UN will seek opportunities to work with countries that host UN peacekeeping operations to identify host country policy, regulatory, and technical measures that would help increase their renewable energy share. In addition, IRENA will assist the UN to strengthen renewable power generation in these areas through encouraging private sector investment.

These steps are intended to create opportunities for peacekeeping missions to source energy from host-country generated renewables in locations where this is possible. This approach has the potential to decrease the environmental footprint of the UN with a secondary benefit of helping to anchor emerging host country capacity in renewable energy generation during crucial times of transition.

“The provision of affordable and reliable energy is a fundamental building block of inclusive development,” said Francesco La Camera, Director-General of IRENA. “While an energy system underpinned by renewables is key to decarbonising our world in line with climate goals, the abundance of renewables empowers governments and citizens, bringing them energy security, economic opportunity and social equity. Under this agreement, our two organisations will seek to make this future a reality in host countries as they rebuild.”

“The Secretary-General’s Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) initiative includes a commitment to support environmentally-responsible solutions. In support of this, our six-year (2017-2023) environment strategy is transforming our operations in peacekeeping missions,” said Atul Khare, Under-Secretary-General for Operational Support. “Our focus on raising awareness, improving performance, and reducing our environmental footprint has prompted peacekeeping missions to implement more renewable energy projects. Several renewable energy projects are already underway in the field missions and we are keen to look for new and innovative ways to outsource renewable energy supply and to implement on-site renewable solutions. Partnerships will be very important in bringing our goals to fruition – and we look forward to working with IRENA to find innovative ways to increase the proportion of our energy from renewable sources.”

Renewable energy solutions are increasingly the most economically attractive form of new power generation in many countries. They offer nations clear socioeconomic benefits in terms of net positive economic growth, job creation, and energy access – contributing to the achievement of multiple sustainable development goals. From the perspective of peacekeeping, reliance on diesel-power generation presents a daily logistics and security challenge, which makes the need for transition compelling.

Renewable technologies also support energy security and promote greater levels of energy independence by harnessing the vast renewable energy potential that exists in one form or another, all over the world.