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Trainer’s Guide “Integrating the Environment into Humanitarian Action and Early Recovery”

In response to the environmental impacts in the aftermath of disasters and conflicts, UNEP and Groupe URD have developed a training toolkit to assist humanitarian actors to integrate environmental considerations into their policy development, planning, programme design and operational activities. The modules are designed to be adjusted to the local context and used as specific training needs and timeframes require.

 Humanitarian crisis and environmental impacts

Whether through direct damage to land, water or air, or through coping strategies that indirectly stress natural resources, environmental impacts in the aftermath of disasters and conflicts can leave populations with a degraded natural resource base and greater vulnerability to future events. At the same time, the relief and recovery operations that follow can sometimes cause as much environmental damage as the crises to which they were designed to respond. Unsustainable techniques used during the humanitarian phase, combined with short-term planning and ad hoc response mechanisms, can leave disaster and conflict-prone regions on trajectories that continue to over-exploit natural resources, leading to a degradation of the very ecosystems needed for the recovery and rebuilding of livelihoods for the affected population.

 A flexible tool, designed to be adjusted to the local context

In response to this issue, UNEP and Groupe URD have developed a training toolkit to assist humanitarian actors to integrate environmental considerations into their policy development, planning, programme design and operational activities. The training toolkit consists of 11 modules, with each substantive module containing a summary, PowerPoint presentation, trainer’s guide, training materials and key supporting documents.

The modules are designed to be adjusted to the local context and used as specific training needs and timeframes require. For example, trainers may choose to present a more limited number of substantive modules when there is less time available for the training; and case studies and photos/illustrations in the PowerPoint presentations can, and should, be adapted to reflect local contexts and relate to local issues.

These modules have been developed using practical experience as well as feedback and suggestions from trainers and training participants. As the training toolkit is intended to be a living tool that will continually evolve as it is used and applied, UNEP and Groupe URD welcome any feedback regarding the improvement of existing modules or the development of new modules.

Modules 1 to 4, 6, 7, 9 and 11 were developed and translated by Groupe URD.
The people in charge of developing these modules are all responsible for research, evaluation and training at Groupe URD : Julie Patinet (WASH), Blanche Renaudin (Environment), Bonaventure Sokpoh (Food Security) and Eve Schneider who is doing an internship in communication and the environment. The modules were all proofread and translated by Etienne Sutherland (English and Pierre Brunet (French).
Two modules were developed by external consultants : module 5 on "Waste management", which was developed by Eva Roben, and module 8 on “Green Logistics”, which was developed by Rob MacConnell.

This training toolkit has been developed with the support of the Flemish International Cooperation Agency.

To request a DVD copy of the training toolkit or to provide UNEP with further feedback on its training toolkit and online resource centre, please contact us via email at: postconflict@unep.org

In its capacity of Cross-cutting Issue Lead for Environment in the humanitarian coordination system (cluster approach), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has created this online resource centre to make relevant guidelines, tools and training readily available. More than 150 resources from over 20 organizations are arranged according to sector and environmental issue. More information on the website: Mainstreaming the environment into humanitarian action.