2. Assessment checklist

Relief operations need to integrate a sustainability approach as soon as is feasible. Environmental issues and risk (e.g. DRR, CCA and resilience thinking) naturally fit into this sustainability approach.

The assessment is the foundation to developing an approach with regard to environmental issues. Ensure an appropriate assessment of the disaster, as well as the impact of the response (victims and aid workers) on the ecosystem services that the affected society, communities and individuals depend upon, and the vulnerabilities of these services. What impact do response approaches and the way the affected communities and individuals react have on ecosystems? What are legal and policy constraints?

In the initial phase of relief, saving lives will be the priority, and only a very basic assessment with regard to the environment and ecosystems services will be possible. Throughout the relief phase, the depth and width of the understanding of environmental issues needs to be enlarged. The environmental assessment needs to be more of an iterative process than a one-off activity, and further into the recovery phase should move from preventing secondary disasters and new risks, towards ensuring longer term impacts are avoided, including through legislation.


  • Has the disaster had an impact on ecosystem services?
  • What are the ecosystem services that the population depends upon and which of these have low capacity and/ or resilience?
  • Are there issues and/ or dynamics around the way the affected population (and if relevant receiving society) are organised or react that could affect ecosystem services?
  • Are there issues and/ or dynamics around emergency response that could affect ecosystem services?
  • Who are the major stakeholders (governmental, private sector, non-governmental organisations, research institutes) that support or undermine local ecosystem services?
  • What are laws and regulations with regard to the environment that need to be followed?
  • What are donor or organisational policies and procedures with regard to the environment?
  • Are there particular environmental issues in the area affected that need to be considered (e.g. environmentally unique sites)?

Adapted from: UNHCR; CARE 2009. FRAME Toolkit: Framework for Assessing, Monitoring and Evaluating the environment in refugee-related operations.http://www.unhcr.org/protection/environment/4a97d1039/frame-toolkit-framework-assessing-monitoring-evaluating-environment-refugee.html

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies 2015. Approach to Green Response – unpublished document