Virtual Environmental and Humanitarian Adviser Tool – (VEHA Tool) is a tool
to easily integrate environmental considerations in humanitarian response. Field Implementation guidances are useful for the design and execution of humanitarian activities in the field.
Environmental impacts can be considered to be too small to address if each is treated in isolation. Pollution and environmental degradation from a single shelter project may appear limited. Spread across multiple sites they can lead to water, soil, and air pollution, overloading local capacities for waste management, and unsustainable use of natural resources. Construction development in one location often encourages future development, which if unassessed can lead to unmanageable environmental impacts.
Ensure agencies are assessing and planning for both the current and future projected numbers of women, children, the elderly, disabled, and people living with chronic or terminal health conditions.
Loss of biodiversity and ecosystems
Natural resource depletion
Drought / flood
1. The environmental impacts of shelter and infrastructure development are not isolated to a single location. The impacts are aggregated across multiple actors and distributed across different locations and across time.
2. If the wider area is not considered as one, environmental impacts may become overwhelming locally or across a wider area, such as solid waste, water supply, energy, sewerage or transport pollution, or bottlenecks.
1. The environmental impacts of shelter and infrastructure development can be considered too small to be of significance if each is considered in isolation. Pollution and environmental degradation from a single shelter project may appear limited. Spread across multiple sites they can lead to water, soil, and air pollution, overload local capacities for waste management, and unsustainable use of natural resources. Impacts are aggregated across multiple humanitarian responders and development actors, including local government, community members, and local private companies. Impacts are also distributed across multiple locations and distributed across time as populations and supporting infrastructure and services grow.
2. Population growth and the growth of supporting infrastructure and services can overburden the local environment. The growth of solid waste, demand for recycling, provision of water supply, requirements for drainage, energy/electricity, sewerage, and increased transport all-cause pollution, deplete natural resources which are multiplied if not assessed and addressed across an entire area. Unconstrained growth without appropriate environmental mitigations will ultimately impact the health of humans, flora, fauna, and natural resources, and the resilience of local ecosystems.
1. Area-based assessment of shelter/settlement and associated infrastructure and services development from all sources. Assessment of likely combined or displaced near future and projected environmental impacts. Design should be undertaken on an area-based approach to avoid overwhelming local environmental capacities.
2. Area-based assessment of projected populations, transport, and infrastructure requirements.
1. Area-based assessment of shelter/settlement and associated infrastructure and services development from all sources, including non-humanitarian actors. Assessment of likely combined or displaced near future and longer-term projections of environmental impacts. Design should be undertaken on an area-based approach to avoid overwhelming local environmental capacities.
2. Area-based assessment of projected populations and likely transport and infrastructure requirements is required to avoid creating localised, or displaced environmental problems from unmanageable quantities of solid waste, water supply, natural resource consumption, energy demands, sewerage, or transport pollution
CASE STUDY: ACEH, INDONESIA POST-TSUNAMI HOUSING PROJECT
Houses in Aceh Besar District, Sumatra, Indonesia, were built after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, as well as a newly constructed seawall that was built as a coastal barrier to protect residents from future tsunamis and storms surges. Unfortunately, the site plan and design for the housing project overlooked the fact that a significant quantity of freshwater flows from inland areas toward the ocean during periods of heavy rainfall and becomes trapped by the seawall before it is released into the ocean. The recurring floods damaged the newly constructed shelter, water and sanitation systems, and roads, and have affected residents’ health and quality of life. As a short-term fix, a costly drainage system was installed. To prevent these types of problems and added costs in the future, project planners need to ensure that there is coordinated planning among a range of stakeholders beyond the immediate project area and must pay particular attention to the broader environmental context.
Number of area based assessments included in shelter cluster overall response.
Prevention of environmental damage
Mitigation of environmental damage
This will require coordination with local authorities, the private sector, and other development actors. One agency may provide additional capacity to assess, evaluate and share a joint assessment.