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

Procurement (Mobilisation)
Timely delivery of goods and services
Forecasting of existing capacities

Forecasting of existing capacities


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

Humanitarian assistance delivery varies by the type and severity of emergency as well as the existing capacities and vulnerability of the affected population. Responses need to be flexible and context-specific.

The response to a sudden onset disaster (e.g.: tsunami, hurricane, or earthquake) will differ from the response to a protracted emergency (e.g.: drought, conflict). Each situation and response would initiate a different supply chain and sequence of operations, packaging, and waste created.

Due to a disaster, there may also be less access to goods locally following an emergency, this can lead to the displacement of environmental impacts.

Gender, age, disability and HIV/AIDS implications

Identify, evaluate and prioritise sources of eligible goods, services and works to ensure quick delivery, best value for money, aligned with intervention needs, and market availability.

Product specifications should consider the different and specific local needs of men, women, and persons of diverse sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and sex characteristics.


Environmental impact categories

Air pollution
Soil pollution
Water pollution
Loss of biodiversity and ecosystems

Summary of Impacts
Summary of potential environmental impacts

Environmental impact of waste from over-ordering / not using. Environmental impacts of overestimating local capacities and undersupplying, forcing people into environmentally harmful coping strategies.

Impact detail
Detailed potential environmental impact information

Environmental impact of waste from over ordering / not using. When the local capacities are overestimated, not properly analysed and undersupplied, it can force people into environmentally harmful coping strategies.

Delivery of items can have negative effects on the environment if not well planned or the needs and behavior of individuals and communities are not appropriately assessed. Additionally, when delivered items do not match with the cultural preferences of affected communities, items may be unused and may accumulate.

When items are used but the resulting waste is not properly managed, accumulation of waste can occur in places that have limited capacity to gather, transport, and dispose of that waste appropriately. Additionally, the accumulation of waste can cause health problems because improper disposal and management of waste can also become a vector for disease to spread within communities and can contaminate the surrounding environment.


Summary of environmental activities

Develop and provide products adapted to local needs and capacities that also include a lower environmental footprint.

Source products locally where they can be produced in an environmentally sustainable way.

Detailed guidance for implementing suggested environmental activities

Ensure appropriate needs assessment and use this to forecast supplies accurately. Give suppliers maximum lead time so they can meet demand. Work with suppliers in advance on sustainable materials sourcing and production methods. Materials management focuses on developing products with a lower environmental footprint, including manufacturing, sourcing, re-use, and recycling.

Near sourcing: Reassessing sourcing both at the global and domestic levels. Understanding local capacity can help avoid duplication and better determine local needs and existing resources.

Internationally sourced goods and services may be more cost-effective than locally sourced goods and services, depending on where they are sourced. Mechanisms to address these challenges, including raising awareness and capacity of local stakeholders to understand and pursue opportunities to engage throughout the supply chain, must be established during the preparedness phase to ensure they are in place after a crisis event. This can present a challenge in contexts where humanitarian assistance stakeholders do not have an in-country presence before an emergency.

Where procurement has to be done over long distances, shipping has lower impacts than flying, so plan further ahead, where possible.

Lessons Learnt
Lessons from past experiences

Humanitarian agencies responding to the southeast Asia 2005 tsunami found that materials forecasts were difficult to make and suppliers couldn’t meet demand. They tried changing approaches and incentivising affected populations to source their own shelter, food, and NFI materials. This led to faster provision of items but also led to significant negative environmental impacts. This resulted in responders sharing databases of affected people and support given, and coordination of procurement.

Activity Measurement
Environmental indicators/monitoring examples

Percentage variation between the information provided in the budget and in the procurement plan

Activity Status
Main Focus
Focus of suggested activities

Prevention of environmental damage

Resource implications (physical assets, time, effort)

Time to undertake proper needs assessments and develop these into procurement forecasts and to work with suppliers to support their forecasting and resourcing.

Time and resources to work with supply chains to sustainably source items as locally as possible.

Next guidance:

Forest pest prevention
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