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The environment in humanitarian action and recovery; current study in Haiti by the Joint Environment Unit and Groupe URD

The study, “Environment and humanitarian action: increasing effectiveness, sustainability and responsibility”, conducted by the Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit (JEU) in 2014, underlined that despite the fact that the environment is considered a cross-cutting issue, environmental issues are not systematically integrated into preparation, humanitarian response, and early recovery. Having contributed to last year’s study, Groupe URD is working with the JEU to evaluate these issues in the post-earthquake humanitarian response in Haiti.

The team is focusing on several topics including waste management, water, risk management in the choice of sites for the reconstruction, and deforestation. The aim is to understand why there are blockages, and to identify good practices which could be adopted in Haiti or in other contexts. A certain number of institutional bodies, humanitarian and development organizations, and funding agencies have been met in connection with this study, which also aims to inform partners about the tools which are available and to identify specific measures to support them in order to strengthen the integration of environmental issues during the implementation of their activities and emergency operations.

The launch of the Haiti Transitional Appeal (TAP) is an important step towards resilience and is an excellent opportunity to evaluate the extent to which environmental concerns have been taken into account to reduce risks and vulnerabilities. The TAP also provides some useful entry points for integrating the environment.