Assessment of environmental consequences after an emergency
Guidance for Assessments in Sudden Onset Emergencies
How to assess environmental consequences for sudden onset emergency response and recovery
Include environmental assessments as an integral component of the disaster assessment phase. Conduct an environmental assessment as soon as possible after the disaster even if the environmental consequences do not seem obvious.
Make use of cluster and/or sector meetings to collect and share information, to raise awareness for cluster-specific environmental issues and to create a sense of joint responsibility for dealing with the issues after they are identified in the assessment phase.
Include key environmental considerations in joint assessments such as the Multi-Cluster/Sector Initial Rapid Assessment (MIRA) when assessing the crisis impact. This is the type of information gathered as part of the Situational Analysis. Information could include:
Are there any environmental issues that can be considered drivers of the crisis, e.g. soil degradation causing landslides?
If there is a threat of release of hazardous substances from infrastructure or industry, conduct a rapid assessment using the Flash Environmental Assessment Tool (FEAT) and share information with the local authorities.
Engage in the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) if it is taking place, by providing information on environmental impacts and needs, such as restoration activities.
Invite environmental actors to participate in environmental assessments.
For environmental actors: Proactively engage humanitarian country teams or cluster coordinators to offer assistance on environmental assessments.
Know how and where to request additional environmental expertise if necessary – consider the host government and national organizations for expertise. For details on how to request international assistance see the Environmental Emergencies Guidelines.
Pay attention to the communities’ perceptions of environmental issues and concerns.
The REA includes a community assessment to capture the environmental concerns and needs of disaster affected people.
Document community concerns about environmental issues as part of any needs assessments.
For donors: Make environmental assessments a donor requirement to ensure their systematic integrating in humanitarian programming.
Although this guidance relates to external assistance, it is important to look into the role that the host country government will play in the environmental assessment process and what environmental impact assessment laws and regulations exist (these may be exempt in emergency contexts).
A situation analysis following a crisis typically looks at key crisis drivers, affected areas, the number and type of affected people, the ways in which people are affected, the most urgent needs and available capacities.
Response and Recovery Planning
Environment is included into response plans in order to improve programme quality and accountability to disaster-affected people.
Environmental mainstreaming is dependent on successful resource mobilization, where environmental concerns must be integrated in funding proposals in order to secure funding.
Successful integration of environment into the implementation of humanitarian response requires that environment be included into preparedness and planning phases, but also effective coordination with national actors.
Response monitoring is about creating evidence for humanitarian actors about what actions should be taken to address shortcomings and fill gaps in in the response, with the aim of improving accountability towards affected populations, local government, donors and the general public.