Mainstreaming environment into humanitarian interventions – A synopsis of key organisations, literature and experience

Abstract

This study reviews a selection of materials on the environment and humanitarian interventions, including disasters and conflict. The review focuses on:

  • Who is active in the field of environment and humanitarian response, and
  • What exists in terms of knowledge development and application to effectively manage environmental concerns during humanitarian interventions?

The materials reviewed are not comprehensive but expected to be sufficient to identify the key actors and knowledge in the environment-humanitarian intervention nexus. The materials assembled in this study are expected to be of use to Environment-Humanitarian Sector Advisors in supporting humanitarian operations.

The study results indicate no dispute that the environment is important to effective humanitarian interventions. Broad, and increasing, efforts are being made to develop tools and capacities to define and address the environmental aspects of humanitarian interventions. These efforts confirm a widely held view that \"Mainstreaming environmental considerations into humanitarian interventions … not only increases the long-term sustainability of projects and programmes but can also achieve other benefits including cost savings, disaster risk reduction, gender equity, food security, and energy efficiency, among others\", a hypothesis set out in the study terms of reference.

The information reviewed also indicates that the second statement set out in the terms of reference, that \"The failure to address environmental considerations within humanitarian interventions, can lead to a web of unintended adverse impacts on people and environment, which may threaten the long term sustainability of interventions and recovery processes\" is generally held to be true across actors involved in the environment-humanitarian assistance nexus.

However, evidence of these unintended adverse impacts threatening sustainability is scarce in the formal literature.

Citation

Kelly, C. Mainstreaming environment into humanitarian interventions – A synopsis of key organisations, literature and experience. Evidence on Demand, UK (2013) 40 pp. [DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12774/eod_hd053.jul2013.kelly]

Mainstreaming environment into humanitarian interventions – A synopsis of key organisations, literature and experience

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