Addressing environmental issues in emergency recovery
Guidance for Recovery in Protracted Crisis
How to address environmental concerns in recovery from protracted crisis
In protracted crises, it is often difficult to clearly distinguish between the end of the crises and the beginning of the recovery phase. Therefore, relief and recovery efforts might might be parallel, ongoing activities.
The environmental burden can, therefore, significantly increase when recovery efforts add to relief activities.
During early recovery, predict which natural resources are likely to be in high demand and prepare to meet those needs in the most sustainable manner possible to ensure that these resources will be available for future demands as well.
Involve natural resource management experts and local environmental actors to ensure a sustainable use of natural resources.
The sustainable management of natural resources relies on the inclusion of a wide range of stakeholders to be effective. Environmental, humanitarian, development, national and local actors as well as communities must come together to ensure good stewardship of natural resources and improve affected people’s quality of life.
Prepare exit strategies for unavoidable unsustainable practices and transition as soon as possible to avoid creating new sources of vulnerability in the short and long term.
During and after protracted crisis, natural resources such as oil, gas and timber, are often the only income generating resource for the affected government.
How exactly these resources are used significantly influences the course and success of Peacebuilding efforts in a protracted crises.
As conflict over distribution and exploitation of natural resources are often a fundamental part of the existing conflict, it is vital for humanitarian and environmental actors not to reinforce such tensions with their project activities.
Therefore, make sure to include context and conflict specific considerations into program planning and implementation of recovery efforts.
For example, shelter activities should ideally not rely on scarce natural resources such as timber, in case access to, and conflict over, it has been part of the conflict.
Humanitarian and environmental actors engaged in the recovery phase should rather encourage the responsible, equitable and sustainable use of those resources and the revenues they generate1 throughout the projects they are engaged in.
For further expertise on the conflict-environment nexus, consult the Environmental Cooperation for Peacebuilding programme of UN Environment, that provides technical, environmental sensitive expertise for conflict transformation efforts RESOURCE
When designing environmental interventions, such as sustainable settlements, consider how best to integrate with regional and local socioeconomic infrastructure and ecosystem processes through:
Land use and infrastructure: Plan to identify and organize the preferred land uses through the allocation and zoning of land for specific uses based on regulation and intensity of use, ensuring environmental aspects are taken into account.
Activity and Site Planning: locate activities (e.g. waste sorting, energy installations) and buildings along with physical infrastructures in such a way as to minimize adverse impacts on the surrounding environment and ecosystems.
To increase sustainability and support longer-term development, recovery and reconstruction efforts should aim to:
Promote the sustainable use of renewable natural resources as building materials.
Reintroduce those traditional methods of reconstruction that are more environmentally sustainable that modern approaches.
WWF’s Green Recovery and Reconstruction Tool (GRRT) is an excellent toolkit with the practical information and strategies necessary to improve project outcomes for the affected population, build back communities that are more environmentally sustainable, and reduce risk and vulnerability to future disasters.
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.