UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 7 (UPI) -- Peacekeepers working for the United Nations have a role to play in protecting the environment and natural resources, the U.N. secretary-general said.
"Given their critical role in supporting countries emerging from conflict, United Nations peacekeeping operations are well-placed to positively influence how the environment is protected and natural resources are managed," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement.
Ban warned that the environment was one of the casualties of war as a growing world population puts strains on limited supplies of conventional natural resources.
He added that as some developing countries emerge from conflict, their reconstruction depends in part on their access to food, water and other natural resources. This, he added, is exacerbated by climate-change issues like drought and rising sea levels.
"From Sierra Leone to Timor-Leste, countries have been helped to mitigate the environmental risks to building peace and to harness the economic potential of using their natural resources sustainably," he said.
His comments were in commemoration of the 10th annual International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict.