UNMISS goes greener: water treatment system at base in Juba now entirely solar powered

Peace South Sudan UNMISS UN peacekeeping peacekeepers environment climate change solar farm photovoltaic solar power water treatment

Combatting climate change, UNMISS has built a photovoltaic solar power farm capable of producing all the energy needed to run its water treatment system at UN House in Juba. Photo by Nektarios Markogiannis/UNMISS

19 Feb 2024

UNMISS goes greener: water treatment system at base in Juba now entirely solar powered

Carole Abou Farah

JUBA – In its quest to reduce its carbon footprint, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) is celebrating a new milestone: at UN House, one of its bases in the capital, a new 100 kW photovoltaic solar power farm is set to produce sufficient energy for the system treating all water used by offices and staff accommodations.

The project was planned and executed by UNMISS Engineering Section to cover the operational needs of power to turn the water treatment plant into an environmentally sustainable facility.

“The farm is designed as a grid-tie system, ensuring it can deliver 100% of its designed capacity based on solar irradiance. Generated power will be directly injected into the power distribution structure,” explained Yonas Araia, Chief of the peacekeeping mission’s Engineering Section, when the novelty was inaugurated.

The women and men behind the project can take extra pride in the fact that the project was completed in just five months, and by exclusively using preexisting and recycled material.

“Protecting the environment in South Sudan by being mindful of our own ecological footprint is an increasingly important UNMISS priority. The water treatment plant itself has been operational since 2021, allowing us to reduce the need for plastic bottles by offering staff clean drinking water from a number of taps,” said Shazneen Cyrus Gazdar, an Environmental Affairs Officer serving with the mission.

Finding and using pioneering environmental solutions is a goal not just in Juba but in all UNMISS camps across the country. Its base in Wau, where a similar solar power project was simultaneously implemented, is one example of that.

“This new infrastructure is just the beginning as it is set to be followed by more and better practices to maximize the use of green energy. As UNMISS, we believe we have the duty to lead by example,” concluded Mr. Araia.

Climate change affects all of us, endangering lives, disrupting economies, and increasingly frequently prompting conflicts over ever-scarcer resources. Combatting it, including its devastating effects, is therefore of paramount importance worldwide.

In a United Nations context, its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, agreed on by member states, urge all countries to take the actions necessary to successfully implement its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Doing that is a crucial and collective responsibility.