The story of UNMIL [Book]: Responsibility to protect - the environment
The United Nations has recognised that a peacekeeping operation can have a major impact on its environment, and the Under- Secretary-General for the UN Department Field Support has been championing peacekeeping environmental responsibility and accountability. UNMIL has undertaken reviews of its operations and sites and implemented activities in partnership with UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Government of Liberia Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ensure environmentally responsible waste disposal and site activities to limit any possible detrimental during its operation and upon its closure. The UNMIL Environment Unit regularly conducts assessments and monitors
Mission activities to ensure environmental compliance and also monitors the performance of our waste contractors. Mission Support engaged EPA-approved waste contractors for collected UN garbage and disposal, and secured approved dumping sites from EPA in Monrovia for our operations. Emergency and incident management procedures were established to contain any fuel spills or hazardous waste. UNMIL established water treatment plants to ensure its effluent is properly cleaned before discharge. Site visits, on-site briefings and training of personnel have been undertaken to ensure any corrective measures or cleanup activities required are implemented.
Prior to the closure of UNMIL sites, joint inspections and assessments are conducted together with the EPA at both privately held and Government-owned sites in order to identify and address any environmental issues. For all sites an environmental clearance certificate is endorsed, together with the EPA to ensure compliance has been met to the satisfaction of both the UN and Government.
UNMIL has taken its role in ensuring limited environmental impact seriously and although not always as visible as other activities, it is a very important responsibility.