Evaluation and Learning

Evaluation and Learning

Incorporating environmental considerations in humanitarian response evaluations and learnings

Evaluation and Learning

Environmental considerations tend to be absent from humanitarian evaluations and lessons learned analyses due to the general lack of environmental considerations throughout response operations. It is difficult to evaluate or report on what has not been assessed and implemented. This has resulted in a lack of evidence base across the sector that could inform more environmentally sustainable programming in the future. Additionally, there is a general disincentive to report on the environmental impact of humanitarian interventions, as these tend to be more negative than positive1. However, in the context of a growing call for increased accountability, evaluating whether humanitarian assistance has had a negative impact on the host environment is crucial. Each organization will have its own tools and mechanisms for evaluating the effectiveness of response, and should include sustainability issues in these. At an international and inter-agency level, the Operational Peer Review and the Inter-agency humanitarian evaluation are used to independently assess whether humanitarian objectives for a specific response have been met.

Evaluations additionally provide the opportunity for good practices to be documented and shared. ‘Lessons learned’ workshops and post-emergency reviews should include environmental and sustainability considerations. Negative environmental impacts of response operations can not only reduce the acceptance of the response among the host population but also undermine humanitarian goals in the long term.

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