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 Access
Targeting, distribution and delivery
Targeting of recipients

Targeting of recipients


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

The targeting process, which determines who does and does not receive resources, is the most common conflict sensitivity flashpoint across all international aid. Even when aid is targeted to the most vulnerable, this can be perceived as bias. Vulnerability often coincides with lines of division among and between communities.

Conflict regarding food assistance can prevent access for the most vulnerable people. This can force them into environmentally harmful coping strategies.

Gender, age, disability and HIV/AIDS implications

Efforts to reach the most marginalized could inadvertently exacerbate conflict, reinforcing people’s marginalized status within the community, with no power to control the assets targeted to them. This could lead to environmental damaging practices.


Environmental impact categories

Air pollution
Soil pollution
Water pollution
Loss of biodiversity and ecosystems
Natural Resource depletion
Soil erosion
Cultural acceptance
Impact on wellbeing / mental health

Summary of Impacts
Summary of potential environmental impacts

Water sources and soil can be affected by accumulation of waste and spills from piled wasted items. Accumulation of packaging may result in contamination of water sources and end up in rivers, lakes and the ocean.

Impact detail
Detailed potential environmental impact information

Overcalculation of people in need of food assistance can cause accumulation of packaging or unused items may pile due to expiration. This can cause problems not only for the packaging but the contents that need to be properly disposed of. They cannot be dumped in water courses or the ground because of the nutritional element they usually contain which can be harmful for the surrounding ecosystems and can spread disease.


Summary of suggested environmental activities

Assess potential community conflict over who will benefit from food assistance programmes

Collect and analyse representative data to establish accurate numbers of people in need of food assistance in order to deliver sufficient and adequate quantities of supplies and avoid accumulation of supplies.

Organize community dialogues to increase understanding and acceptance of the delivered assistance.

Plan solid waste management in advance, such as reduction, return, composting, recycling.

Detailed guidance for implementing suggested environmental activities
  • Conduct estimation studies that provide accurate quantifications of food assistance needed.
  • Conflict analysis, if done correctly, will interrogate community dynamics and power relations, which in turn can mitigate any inclusion/exclusion errors and reduce related environmental damage.
  • Assess provision of complimentary assistance to less vulnerable people, such as kitchen gardens, seeds, and tools for crop growing, or training in business skills.
  • Consider blanket coverage if the conflict would otherwise be inevitable.
  • Determine who will be responsible for solid waste management in advance, and how it will not create negative environmental impacts, such as reduction, return, composting, recycling.
Lessons Learnt
Lessons from past experiences

Save the Children have found that the challenges associated with food aid – displaced international trade, depressed producer prices in recipient countries, labour supply disincentives, delivery delays, misuse by intermediaries,
diversion to resale or feeding livestock or alcohol brewing, dependency, inattention to beneficiaries’ micronutrient needs, etc. – all revolve ultimately around questions of targeting. They found that improved targeting of food aid could improve the effectiveness of food aid in accomplishing its primary humanitarian
and development aim – the maintenance of valuable human capital –and reduce many of the errors that sometimes make food aid
controversial, ineffective, or both. This could reduce negative market and environmental impact.s

Activity Measurement
Environmental indicators/monitoring examples

Estimations of need for food supplies are accurate and wasted/expired elements is close to zero.

Activity Status
Main Focus
Focus of suggested activities

Prevention of environmental damage

Mitigation of environmental damage

Resource implications (physical assets, time, effort)

This does not require additional effort or resources to those already needed for programme design. Ensure appropriate time for conflict analysis

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