3. What to do: Response options

  • Conduct a Rapid Environmental Assessment (REA).
  • Recognise environmental issues as part of sustainability and resilience.
  • Consider environmental issues as an approach that links relief to recovery and development.
  • Involve communities and women in REAs.
  • Designate an environmental focal point/ advocate in the emergency management team and include financial and technical resources for assessment and implementation. Seconding a person or team from an environmental NGO may be an option.
  • Communicate the results of the REA, monitoring and evaluation to relevant stakeholders.
  • Adopt standards in operations and procurement to minimise environmental impact.
  • Ensure all involved in the response are aware of, and comply with, these standards.
  • Identify potentially negative impacts on the environment of relief operations and plan for limiting these impacts.
  • Consider activities that support and/ or strengthen ecosystems.
  • Involve local and international environmental NGOs, research institutes and government and private sector stakeholders to address and limit the environmental impact of the disaster and relief.
  • Include environmental issues in advocacy activities.
  • Monitor environmental issues in the dynamic response context.
  • Remain flexible around the integration of environmental issues in relief actions.
  • Evaluate operations on environmental impact.
  • Calculate the carbon footprint of emergency operations, and where possible, include them in funding requirements and offset carbon production.

CARE has been working with environmental NGOs on improving the link between disasters and sustainable environmental management. Following the 2004 South East Asian tsunami, the World Conservation Union seconded an individual to CARE recovery operations in Sri Lanka to provide an environmental oversight to these efforts. CARE has recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the World Conservation Union branch working in South Asia, which includes cooperation on disaster relief and recovery activities.