Bilel Dhouib (left) UN Volunteer Environmental Education Officer in a waste assessment exercise in UNMISS field location in South Sudan.
Bilel Dhouib (left) UN Volunteer Environmental Education Officer in a waste assessment exercise in UNMISS field location in South Sudan.

Think and then act for the environment

I am Bilel Dhouib, UN Volunteer Environmental Education Officer with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). The mission's mandate is to protect civilians and build durable peace. I am part of a creative team making sure our work is eco-friendly.

I serve with the Environment and Occupational Safety and Health Unit.

Every newcomer to UNMISS, whether civilian, military, or police, goes through environmental induction training. My responsibility is to make sure they understand how important it is to consider the environment in everything they do.

We look at aspects such as wastewater management, solid waste management, and energy use.

Our goal is to reduce our environmental impact and keep our operations sustainable. We conduct field visits and inspections at troop deployment sites, checking on how waste and energy are managed.

Following these inspections, I organize training sessions tailored to different audiences where we share best practices and lessons learned on protecting the environment.

The favourite part of my assignment is organizing campaigns to raise awareness about environmental issues. We focus on things like waste segregation and how to reduce the wastage of water.

One of our primary goals is to reduce the use of single-use plastics. Many people started using reusable items after our successful #beatplasticpollution campaign.

Cafeterias and restaurants swapped plastic cutlery, straws, and plates for eco-friendly alternatives. Even local markets are now using reusable bags instead of plastic ones.
In 2023, more than 1,380 UNMISS staff and officers attended our induction training. Additionally, over 350 troop personnel participated in our field training sessions. A major step ensuring everyone in the mission understands the importance of environmental protection.


Bilel Dhouib (left) UN Volunteer Environmental Education Officer during a waste flow assessment in UNMISS field location in Bentiu, South Sudan. @UNMISS, 2024.


Our efforts to protect the environment are not going unnoticed.

The 2022-23 Mission Environmental Scorecard gave UNMISS a score of 75 points out of 100. This improvement is mainly due to better waste-water management and waste disposal.

In Kuajok, we managed all non-hazardous solid waste within the compound, avoiding the need to dump waste in government-approved sites.

Getting people engaged in environmental issues is challenging. Many don't realize the impact of their actions. This motivates me to find creative ways to raise awareness and encourage eco-friendly behaviours.

Serving with UNMISS, I feel proud to be part of a team that's making a positive impact in South Sudan. I'm passionate about educating others and promoting sustainability.

I am a proponent of green habits. I spread the word on its importance at every given opportunity.

Every action counts towards protecting our planet.

Now, after more than a year with UNMISS, I see the impact of our advocacy efforts.

I encourage everyone to adopt eco-friendly habits. Our daily choices have a huge impact on the environment. A zero-waste lifestyle means refusing single-use plastics, using reusable items, buying wisely, recycling, and composting.

Volunteering is about sharing knowledge and making a positive change in others' lives. Together, we can achieve zero harm to the environment by taking a moment to think and then act.