Coordination for Environmental Mainstreaming in Disaster Management
Guidance for Coordination in Sudden Onset Emergencies
Guidance on coordination of environmental issues in disaster management of sudden onset crises
Be aware that sudden-onset crises often provide limited time to develop coordination mechanisms focusing on the environment. Robust emergency response preparedness is critical to ensuring strong coordination in emergency response.
The coordination of environment in humanitarian action vastly improves with cross-sectoral and inter-sectoral working groups that help to coordinate environmental action across different sectors or harmonize specific environmental efforts within a particular sector.
For example, in Jordan in 2016, a sectoral environmental task force was set up to oversee the integration of environmental concerns into the Jordan Response Plan and included actors from different sectors. (Source: Jordan Response Plan for the Syria Crisis)
Within the UN system, clusters are responsible for inter-sectoral coordination, with established mechanisms to coordinate actions, facilitate communication and manage information. See Cluster page for cluster-specific guidance on environmental issues.
Humanitarian Country Teams (HCT) are the core component of the humanitarian coordination architecture in an affected country. HCTs need to integrate environmental considerations in the coordination mechanisms and engage national environmental actors.
Cluster Coordinators have a responsibility to ensure the integration and coordination of cross-cutting issues, such as the environment. It is important to support Cluster Coordinators with this task to ensure that environmental concerns are not forgotten in the haste of humanitarian action.
The inter-cluster coordination group brings cluster/sector coordinators and representatives of cross-cutting issues together at the national and sub-national levels to coordinate operations and the implementation of the programme cycle.
Inter-cluster coordination is facilitated through the inter-cluster coordination group (ICCG). The ICCG is therefore an adequate entry point to raise awareness for environmental considerations amongst all clusters involved in the response.
The UN Environment / OCHA Joint Unit can support coordination efforts through the deployment of an Environmental Field Advisor (EFA) and through linking actors and sharing guidance through the Environment and Humanitarian Action Network.
Engage national environmental authorities and the national disaster management agency to establish partnerships, reinforce local environmental efforts and link up with national coordination structures.
Local environmental NGOs often have established communication and coordination mechanisms that can be valuable to organizing and exchanging environmental information.
Coordination structures and mechanisms should also be formed outside the UN context. The aim of such efforts should always be to bring stakeholders together to address issues with joint skills and resources, reduce duplication of efforts, manage and exchange information efficiently, close existing gaps, and increase cooperation for working towards common goals.
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.
Assessing the environmental consequences of an emergency and prioritizing the response actions based on the needs, forms the foundation of a coherent, efficient and sustainable humanitarian response.
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.