Improving humanitarian response and recovery planning through environmental mainstreaming
Guidance for Response and Recovery Planning in Protracted Crises
How to include environmental concerns in response plans for protracted crises response and recovery
Including environmental concerns in the planning of the response to a protracted crises is critical to addressing these concerns through clear and specific actions. In most cases, protracted crisis involves conflict and often fragile socio-economic and governance conditions. In many UN-led responses, a Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) is developed based on a Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO). Where an HRP or HNO is not developed, similar documents covering humanitarian needs and response planning will be developed by the UN, at times with input from the host government. HNOs, HRPs or similar documents are usually updated on an annual basis after first issuance1, but may be amended if the protracted crisis changes dramatically.
Review and analyze the (detailed) assessments and situational analysis underlying the planning for protracted crisis response in order to identify current or potential environmental concerns. The REA Module One can be used in this process, while NEAT+ input from the project level can identify environmental issues which emerge during implementation. FRAME is particularly applicable for displaced populations in camp settings. Environmental concerns can be linked to:
the delivery of assistance.
the root or proximate causes of the protracted crisis.
future consequences of the crisis, such as depletion of natural resources near an IDP camp, or
likely changes in the humanitarian context, e.g., increased or decreased conflict.
Consider the conflict context first and foremost, as this will determine the planning and design of all interventions aimed at minimizing environmental harm. Organizations have to take this context as the starting point for their programming and adapt their projects accordingly.
Build the environmental assessment of planning on earlier HNO content and other assessments which may have been conducted between (annual) planning exercises. Where possible, as revisions are being made to an HNO, this process includes at minimum a screening and scoping of environmental issues and mitigation actions. (Note that some donors may require an environmental management plan, citing environmental impacts and mitigation measures, on any updates to an HNO or HRP).
Where there is a sudden and dramatic negative change in a protracted crisis, a Flash Appeal or similar document may be issued. The Flash Appeal should incorporate key environmental issues from the HNO and define and address any new or emerging environmental issues triggered by the cause of the Flash Appeal. See #2 for what types of issues may emerge. The Flash Appeal offers a window of opportunity to mainstream environmental considerations in case this has not been possible during an earlier stage.
Review environmental concerns from a cluster/sectoral perspective, where the most directly related sectors are:
Emergency Shelter and Settlements
Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM)
Multisector Refugee Response Efforts
For protracted crises, the shelter and CCCM clusters will be one of the key clusters, that requires considerations of environmental impacts. Long term planning for settlements is crucial as they tend to exist for many years, often beyond the intended timeframe.
Plan for increased self-sufficiency of settlements, in order to avoid negative environmental consequences like increased deforestation and pollution around the settlement area.
Use the NEAT+ screening tool to screen for environmental risks before planning settlement location and location of activities and facilities of the settlement.
Contribute the results of environmental assessments to both Country and Cluster plans. One of the best ways to influence country or disaster-wide planning is to engage with the Clusters and contribute to their plans.
Provide key messages on the main environmental issues of concern to the clusters tailored with language accessible to humanitarian actors and using non-technical environmental language.
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.
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.