UNIFIL today marked the International Day of Peace amidst a ceremony at its headquarters in Naqoura, south Lebanon, with its head and Force Commander Major General Stefano Del Col joining the global call for climate action for peace.
In his address to the gathering of dignitaries that included Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) representatives, local and religious leaders, and fellow UNIFIL peacekeepers, Major General Del Col said peace can only be achieved through “immediate and concrete” actions against climate change.
He added that climate action is prerequisite for a sustainable future, not least in south Lebanon where the UN mission operates.
In UNIFIL’s efforts to reduce environmental footprint, the mission has 21 high-capacity wastewater treatment plants, with the capacity to cater to almost 25,000 people within its area of operation in south Lebanon. Its five sludge treatment systems are used to process sewage in an environment-friendly manner.
In addition, UNIFIL also has 15 solar plants, which generated 577,596 kilo Watts hours (kWh) energy in the past year, accounting for almost 5 per cent of the total energy consumption in the UNIFIL headquarters in Naqoura. A new solar plant is being installed in the Mission’s Sector East Headquarters near Marjayoun.
In their effort to keep the greenery in the UNIFIL area of operation, the Mission’s peacekeepers also planted more than 15,000 tree seedlings between 2011 and 2018.
Switching to the core mandate of UNIFIL, he thanked the Government authorities and the people of south Lebanon for their continued support and commitment to the implementation of UNIFIL’s mandate.
“In reaffirming UNIFIL’s outmost commitment to maintain and solidify the cessation of hostilities, I would like to invite all stakeholders to exercise restraint and prevent escalations,” he said, adding, “I urge all of you to work with confidence and dedication, and through partnership and understanding towards peace.”
In 1981, the UN General Assembly established the International Day of Peace to be observed on 21 September each year. Two decades later, in 2001, the Assembly unanimously voted to designate the Day as a period of non-violence and ceasefire.
The theme of this year’s observances "Climate Action for Peace," draws attention to the importance of combatting climate change as a way to protect and promote peace throughout the world.