Incorporating environmental considerations in humanitarian response evaluations and learnings
Guidance for Evaluation and Learning in Protracted Crisis
How to address environment in humanitarian response evaluations and learnings of protracted crisis
The extent to which environmental issues have been addressed and how negative environmental impacts have been mitigated (or not) should be part of the final, annual or mid-term evaluation, depending on the project. In protracted crises, evaluation of the humanitarian response should also include the extent to which the response has been adapted to crisis specific conflict patterns that are directly related to environmental factors.
Examples include scarcity of natural resources that are part, or even, a reason for the specific conflict, or the influence of climate change on the conflict. For climate change such information might not be readily available and will demand in-depth study (which might not be feasible in all humanitarian contexts).
The evaluation should assess whether response activities aggravated or were able to take into account, environmental conflict patterns, and include them into the response. For example, how potential tensions between hosting and refugee communities over resources were considered and mitigated.
Further key questions for the evaluation include:
Did the project address environmental issues?
Did the project have positive and/or negative environmental impacts?
What were the effects of these environmental impacts for affected populations?
Which lessons for environmental mainstreaming can be learned for future programming?
Within the UN system, Humanitarian Coordinators should be required to consider the extent to which cluster lead agencies have integrated environmental issues.
Protracted crises offer the possibility to feed environmental impact evaluations directly into the ongoing response since response operations are reviewed on an annual base. Evaluations can be included in the Operational Peer Review or into Inter-Agency Evaluations.
The OPR is an internal, inter-agency peer support tool, which helps determine whether adjustments need to be made to the collective humanitarian response, but not a real-time evaluation. Therefore, take part in the peer review process, which in a protracted crisis is non-mandatory, but may be initiated by a request from the HC/HCT.
An Inter-Agency Humanitarian Evaluation is an independent assessment of whether collective results achieved in response to an emergency meet the objectives stated in the response plan and the needs of affected people.
Include environmental considerations in lessons learned workshops to inform future operations.
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.