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.

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VEHA - Field Implementation Guidance

Food Security
Food Availability
Food quality, appropriateness and acceptability
Food analysis and quality control

Food analysis and quality control


Environmental factors causing/contributing to the needs and affecting the humanitarian activity

Ensuring analysis and control of food assistance is crucial for the overall safety and quality of delivered food. This is especially important when providing assistance to people living in remote areas where food commodities are handled multiple times during transport and can be exposed to varying temperatures and storage conditions that can impact the quality of the food. Ensuring analysis and quality control will have a direct impact on reducing food waste and potential disease spread from decaying organic waste.

In parallel when food delivery is not accommodated to the culture of the affected populations or added to that the quality does not meet usual standards, there is a high risk of massive food waste generation. When food waste is disposed in water bodies, it increased its organic content and may deplete necessary oxygen levels.

Gender, age, disability and HIV/AIDS implications

Examine whether at-risk groups (for example, female-headed households, older women or men, people living with HIV/AIDS) are accessing adequate food and the food basket meets their specific needs. Take action to address barriers following consultation. This will diminish the use of environmentally damaging coping strategies.


Environmental impact categories

Air pollution
Soil pollution
Water pollution
Natural Resource depletion

Summary of Impacts
Summary of potential environmental impacts

Food waste and related water and soil pollution due to inappropriate food selection

Impact detail
Detailed potential environmental impact information

Inappropriate food selection, handling, storage analysis, or quality control leads to food waste. This often results in disease vectors/health risks as organic waste decays, which can damage proximate ecosystems. Air, soil, and water can be polluted due by organic and solid waste.


Summary of suggested environmental activities

Establish Food Safety and Quality Management System (FSQMS) as per WFP recommendations, ensuring it assesses and plans to prevent environmental damage.

Consult communities regarding typical food and plates, ingredients, cultural and context-related preferences, and restrictions, accompanied by high-quality standards in order to properly deliver nutritious foods that will be used by people, and food waste generation will be minimal.

Detailed guidance for implementing suggested environmental activities

The Food Safety and Quality Management System ( FSQMS) aims to reduce and prevent food quality and safety issues occurring along the entire supply chain, from the farmers/suppliers/producers to the beneficiaries. Customer satisfaction and food acceptability are also underlined along with this system by measures aimed at ensuring the safety, nutritional quality, and acceptability of the delivered foods.

Gather data on the nutritional composition of local animal and plant species, including neglected, underutilized, and/or endangered species used for food and medicines. Carry out context-specific food composition analyses and dietary assessments at the local and national levels. Undertake facilitated participatory needs assessments with communities. This should be an exploratory process to understand a community’s needs, including but not limited to food security; this would be led by communities rather than being based on a survey. This should include exploring their food-related environmental dependencies.

Lessons Learnt
Lessons from past experiences

A Food Aid Quality Review has found that recent efforts by humanitarian organizations have improved the macronutrient specifications of foods used to achieve defined nutrition outcomes; This includes upgrading the micronutrient specifications of food products and fortified staple grains such that they deliver 115% of daily recommended nutrient intakes for most vitamins and some minerals; Adopting the use of lipid-based food products and new flour blends as potential alternatives or complements to conventional grain- or pulse-based products in the context of programming to treat or manage moderate acute malnutrition; Harmonising the activities of major food aid implementers around the setting of standards, specifications, and approaches to the use of food aid, both in the US and between the US and other global players; and strengthened the evidence base for cost-effective product use and programming impacts.

Activity Measurement
Environmental indicators/monitoring examples

Food Safety and Quality Management System (FSQMS) is in place

Communities are consulted regarding food preferences and quality standards

Activity Status
Main Focus
Focus of suggested activities

Prevention of environmental damage

Mitigation of environmental damage

Resource implications (physical assets, time, effort)

Follow available guidance. Time required for participative assessment

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