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

Enabling activities - Health
Strategic Planning - Health
Transition, recovery and accountability

Transition, recovery and accountability


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

All health responses should be designed to build the capacity of the health system, and with an exit/transition strategy in place that includes consulting local communities about their needs and also their resources and capacities.

Planning for transition and recovery should be developed at the earliest stages of the humanitarian response. Without such planning, the health response could inadvertently exacerbate harmful environmental drivers of health, such as sanitation, hygiene, solid waste, and pollution.

Gender, age, disability and HIV/AIDS implications

Women and girls tend to be affected disproportionately by emergencies. Indeed, gender inequalities tend to be exacerbated, leading to increased dependence and exclusion. This can directly impact their capacity to access external assistance and restrict and/or influence individual coping mechanisms.

An inclusive healthcare system can facilitate access of persons with disabilities to health facilities and distribution sites, contribute to overcoming the barriers they may face, and ensure that their specific vulnerabilities and needs have been taken into account. Well-planned health interventions can act positively on the safety and well-being of populations and contribute to addressing some of the risks directly linked with health conditions in emergencies.


Environmental impact categories

Air pollution
Soil pollution
Water pollution
Climate Change
Loss of biodiversity and ecosystems
Natural resource depletion

Summary of Impacts
Potential environmental impacts

Failure to plan effective accountable transition and recovery could lead to:

  • Air, water, and soil pollution
  • Solid waste management pollution
  • Disease spread
  • Unsustainable depletion of natural resource
  • Excessive greenhouse gas emissions
  • Harm to biodiversity and ecosystems
Impact detail
Detailed potential environmental impact information

Without an effective sustainable accountable transition and recovery plan, health systems will continue to harm the environment and environmental impacts could increase significantly. This includes air, water, and soil pollution from construction and service delivery, procurement, maintenance, and disposal of equipment, utilities, service, and medicines; poor solid waste and organic waste, and hospital waste management practices; This could lead to the harbouring and multiplication of disease vectors. Construction, refurbishment, upgrade, and operation and maintenance of health services and facilities could lead to an increase in unsustainable depletion of natural resources and excessive greenhouse gas emissions and harm to biodiversity and ecosystems.


Summary of environmental activities
  • Develop an environmentally sustainable transition and recovery plan
  • Assess and mitigate environmental impacts
  • Review air, water and soil pollution from construction, refurbishment, service delivery, procurement, maintenance; maintenance, utilities and waste.
  • Identify and mitigate disease vectors.
  • Assess and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions
  • Assess and mitigate impacts on biodiversity and ecosystems.
Detailed guidance for implementing suggested environmental activities

Develop a transition and recovery plan in the early days of the response. Ensure that this addresses all elements of health service delivery, and identifies and manages environmental impacts, including identifying sources of air, water, and soil pollution including from construction or refurbishment, and service delivery, procurement of food, medicines, and equipment; building maintenance; maintenance and disposal of equipment; provision and efficient use of utilities; solid waste, hospital waste, and organic waste management practices. Identify and mitigate possible disease vectors. Assess and mitigate health service delivery greenhouse gas emissions, and any harm to biodiversity and ecosystems.

Lessons Learnt
Lessons from past experiences

Developing transition and recovery plans near the start of the response has been demonstrated to strengthen consideration of environmental impacts and waste management, leading to more efficient procurement, lower energy use, less packaging, better waste management, and improved community health and wellbeing.

Activity Measurement
Environmental indicators/monitoring examples

The number of health facilities where an accountable transition/recovery plan has been developed and is being implemented.

Very high
Main Focus
Focus of suggested activities
  • Prevention of environmental damage
  • Mitigation of environmental damage
  • Environmental enhancement
Resource implications (physical assets, time, effort)

Time and resources for community, existing service provider and local government consultation, planning, funding and careful handover.

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