Humanitarian crises and the response to them can both have a very negative impact on the environment. This environmental damage reduces the chances that crises will be resolved and that reconstruction can take place. It is therefore essential that the environment should be taken into account in a humanitarian response to protect the well-being and means of subsistence of the affected population.
In many crisis and post-crisis situations, resources are managed without consideration for the long term, there is no waste management and long-term damage can be done to the environment when it is stretched beyond its capacity for resilience. The environment is a source of well-being and means of subsistence and damaging it reduces the chances that a crisis will be resolved and reconstruction can take place. On the other hand, taking environmental impact into account leads to programmes of better quality and is more consistent with the humanitarian mandate. It is also a way of anticipating the demands of the international community concerning this issue which are likely to become more stringent in the future.
Why is environmental impact still so rarely taken into account and what problems does this create? What are the advantages and opportunities of taking the environment into account? How can humanitarian organisations and donors adopt an environmental approach in their programmes? We aim to provide concrete answers to these questions.
Sub-topics of investigation
- The interaction between crises and the environment: the environment as a source of crises and as a victim of crises (and how this affects people).
- Future crises linked to the environment: environmental risks, conflict over resources, forced migration due to the environment, etc.
- The environmental impact of aid and how it can be reduced.
- Methodology for taking the environment into account in humanitarian action: assessment of the environmental context, assessment of environmental impact, environmental indicators.
- Integrating climate change into humanitarian action: mitigation and adaptation programme.
In terms of activities, Groupe URD implements research on each sub-topic, training about the environment in humanitarian action, and monitoring and evaluation of the environmental impact of humanitarian programmes.
For more information, contact Blanche Renaudin
Groupe URD’s projects related to this theme:
- Reconstruction and the Environment in the Metropolitan Region of Port-au-Prince
- A network of NGOs committed to addressing environmental issues during their relief operations
- Trainer’s Guide “Integrating the Environment into Humanitarian Action and Early Recovery”
- Course "Mainstreaming the environment in humanitarian action"
- Mainstreaming the environment in humanitarian action - rising to the challenge
- Guide to reducing the environmental impact of humanitarian action - Work underway
Articles related to this topic in "Humanitarian Aid on the move":
- Environment and conflict in Latin America, Renard Sexton
- Humanitarian crises and sustainability sanitation: lessons from Eastern Chad , Anne Delmaire and Julie Patinet
- Why humanitarian actors are concerned by the biodiversity crisis, Pierre Carret - Florence Gibert
- The forecast is not good, François Grünewald
- Mainstreaming the environment into Humanitarian Action, Tom Delrue and Renard Sexton
- Crises, conflicts over resources and the environment , Florence Gibert and François Grünewald
- Ideas for improving the quality of the humanitarian response in Chad, Olivia Collins, Florence Gibert, Julie Patinet and Bonaventure Sokpoh
- It is time for aid to go green