UNV is actively involved in the Greening the Blue initiative, which was launched in 2010 to raise awareness of the importance of sustainability throughout the UN system and to encourage staff members to take an active role in reducing the organizations carbon emissions.
Inspired by millions of volunteers acting for sustainable development around the world, UNV at Rio+20 is calling on decision-makers to recognize the importance of volunteering and civic engagement for the future of our planet. UN and other global leaders have repeatedly highlighted the need for the engagement of volunteers and communities to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and sustainable development. A strong people-centred approach to development through voluntary action is already happening in the field, integrating social, economic and environmental transformation. UNV's active participation at the Earth Summit comes at a crucial moment of its on-going push for an increased policy uptake of volunteering issues, said UNV Executive Coordinator Flavia Pansieri. Achieving sustainable development will require volunteers and people's participation at the policy and decision making level and when implementation takes place. But that is not enough, she said. If we you, I, everyone don't engage, participate and recognize our unsustainable lifestyles have to change, how can we expect to build a sustainable future for the generations after us? That is where the power of volunteering comes in, Pansieri said, adding that everyone should play a role and engage in the spirit of solidarity for our fellow human beings today and generations in the future. Across the United Nations System, organizations and staff are looking to the future and transforming in-house practices, premises and operations in the interest of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The UN aspires to become a globally-acclaimed model of efficient use of energy and resources. UNV is actively involved in the Greening the Blue initiative, which was launched in 2010 to raise awareness of the importance of sustainability throughout the UN system and to encourage staff members to take an active role in reducing the organizations carbon emissions. Actions taken include encouraging train journeys over air travel, providing bicycles for staff members, installing efficient lighting systems in UN offices or using e-conferencing instead of travelling to meetings. Over 50 per cent of the UNs greenhouse gas emissions are from air travel (4.2 tonnes per capita) making this the biggest challenge for the organization in reducing its overall emissions. In the report, launched on the occasion of Earth Day 2012, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says: The United Nations system is strongly committed to leading by example and ensuring that our operations are continuously monitored and improved - not just in terms of what we deliver, but also how we deliver. We are also looking to this years UN Conference on Sustainable Development - Rio+20 - to generate ideas that will energize sustainability efforts worldwide. Though the UN has come a long way, the report acknowledges that much still remains to be done. The process of moving the UN towards climate neutrality gives us direct experience of the complexities associated with preparing a large international organization for a green economy. But we recognize that this work is vital for delivering sustainable development, and has the potential to realize the best of human ingenuity and creativity, writes Under Secretary General and Executive Director of UNEP, Achim Steiner, in the reports preface. The report concludes that the UN must establish itself as a pioneer in working towards establishing a green economy and doing all it can to move the world towards sustainable energy. Further details about the process and the actions of individual organizations are available at www.greeningtheblue.org.