The environment is relevant to UNFICYP’s peace efforts in Cyprus, said Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and Head of Mission, Elizabeth Spehar.
She was addressing an event organised by UNFICYP’s Environmental Committee to commemorate World Environment Day which is celebrated on June 5 each year.
The event included outdoor activities such as bicycle orienteering and a safety ride as well as a walk around the UN Protected Area in Nicosia, Cyprus. More than 100 UNFICYP peacekeepers, civilian, military and police, participated in the committee’s activities.
In her opening remarks, SRSG Spehar highlighted UNFICYP’s consistent efforts to comply with United Nations’ environmental policies and management strategies and stated that the Mission remains deeply committed to this cause.
She made special mention of the Mission’s focus on minimising the impact of its operations on the environment, promoting environmental protection awareness and identifying ways of engaging with local communities in connection with environmental activities and projects.
“The environment is germane to our peace efforts here in Cyprus. The concept of environmental peace-building is close to my heart and one of my priority areas for our inter-communal work going forward,” said SRSG Spehar, adding that environmental challenges are a non-political, cross-cutting topic that knows no borders, concerning everyone equally.
The event was followed by a briefing to Mission personnel attended by the UNFICYP Force Commander, Major General Cheryl Pearce, Acting Senior Police Adviser, Dongxu Su, the Chief of Mission Support (CMS), Joel Cohen as well as UNFICYP personnel.
For his part, Cohen, CMS, spoke about this year’s theme – Beat Air Pollution— and urged everyone to consider making small changes in their everyday lives to reduce air pollution.
In this context, he touched upon UNFICYP initiatives that specifically target air pollution, such as acquisition of “clean” generators, hybrid vehicles and using bicycles within sectors and for patrolling. “This morning’s activities provided an opportunity for us to roll up our sleeves and do our share in promoting a healthier way of life – something that both we and our planet will benefit from,” said Cohen.
The briefing concluded with a presentation on air pollution in Cyprus and innovative approaches to control it by Theodoros Christoudias from the Cyprus Institute.
(Cyprus News Agency)