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Resource Documents by Clusters/Sectors

Resource Documents by Cross Cutting Issues

Resource Documents by Environmental Issues


Since 2005, UNEP has been the Cross-Cutting Issue Lead for Environment in the humanitarian coordination system (cluster approach). The overall objective of UNEP’s Environment, Humanitarian Action and Early Recovery programme is to ensure that environmental issues are integrated into humanitarian action at every phase of the response: relief, recovery and reconstruction in order to adequately address environmental needs in emergency and post-emergency situations. Not just disasters and conflicts, but also humanitarian operations can have an adverse impact on the environment.

Most humanitarian programmes and operations intersect in a variety of ways with environment, from shelter and protection to logistics and early recovery. UNEP works with humanitarian actors to build capacity and awareness to improve the way in which operations are carried out. More environmentally sound operations will ensure that both human welfare and environment are protected and preserved in response to a disaster or conflict. UNEP leads trainings, serves as the liaison with clusters and partner organizations regarding environmental issues, provides in-country expertise and facilitates policy and advocacy efforts at the headquarter level.


In recognition of its importance, environment is a cross-cutting issue within the humanitarian coordination system, with an increasing understanding and awareness amongst the humanitarian community on the need to integrate environment into programmes and operations. However, most humanitarian actors lack the capacity to ensure environmental mainstreaming. There is a clear need therefore, for a centralized information-sharing platform to make existing guidelines, tools, training, and other resources regarding environment, humanitarian action and early recovery easily accessible. UNEP initiated a comprehensive assessment to compile existing guidelines, tools, training, best practices, case studies and resources to educate and equip practioners in-country to better mainstream environment into different sectors and cross-cutting issues.

The key objective is to identify relevant environment-specific materials that already exist and make them easily accessible to country staff. The materials have been compiled into an online resource centre, targeted at humanitarian actors in crisis situations. Actors may use the materials to guide them in mainstreaming environment into policy development, planning, programme design, and operations. This resource is primarily targeted at programme managers, logisticians, policy and decision makers, country offices, humanitarian and resident coordinators.


The compilation of materials (i.e. “mapping”) was conducted using a desk study to identify existing guidelines, tools, best practices, technical manuals and resources that explain how to mainstream environment into different sectors and cross-cutting issues. Materials were acquired from a range of UN, NGO, academic, business and government sources. A comprehensive consultation was also undertaken with cluster leads and partner organizations on the materials. The feedback from the consultation was incorporated into the mapping.

The mapping is structured in two ways. One way is around the humanitarian coordination system (Cluster approach), which comprises of eleven clusters/sectors and four cross-cutting issues, including environment. The mapping is also structured by environmental issue in order to address topics that fall into several sectors and to offer an alternative way to find materials. The mapping includes practical resources such as green procurement strategies for logisticians, environment education curricula for primary schools after an emergency, technical guides on waste management, alternative fuel strategies for refugee/Internally Displaced People’s (IDP) camps, generic Terms of Reference (ToRs) for a shelter environment advisor, and sustainable water and sanitation methods. Within each category, materials have been disaggregated into guidelines, tools, training, case studies, best practices and resources.