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United Nations Environment/Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Joint Unit (JEU)

The United Nations Environment/Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Joint Unit, also known as UN Environment/OCHA Joint Unit (JEU), is housed within OCHA’s Emergency Services Branch in Geneva. Founded in 1994, it helps Member States prepare for and respond to environmental emergencies.

It is namely responsible for coordinating response and preparedness missions, leading training workshops, creating networks and providing preparedness tools. The team manages the EHA Connect digital tool, as well as the Environmental Emergencies Centre, which you are currently browsing.

By pairing UN Environment’s technical expertise with OCHA’s humanitarian response coordination structure, the JEU ensures an integrated approach in responding to environmental emergencies. The JEU provides independent, impartial advice and practical solutions, while working with organizations dedicated to medium and long term rehabilitation to ensure a seamless transition from emergency response to recovery.

Areas of work

Response

In the first hours after an environmental emergency, the JEU can mobilize experts and equipment, such as mobile laboratories, to the affected area. These teams conduct rapid assessments, test for the presence of hazardous materials, analyze the possible impacts on communities, and help national authorities develop strategies to respond.

Preparedness

The JEU raises awareness among communities, disaster responders, governments and industries on the impacts of environmental emergencies and the presence of hazardous materials that may be released during a disaster. The JEU also provides multiple environmental emergency preparedness tools.

Environment in Humanitarian Action

The JEU works to promote that environmental issues are an integral part of all elements of humanitarian response, including across the humanitarian programme cycle. This means that environmental concerns are addressed and considered in needs assessment and analysis, strategic response planning, resource mobilisation, performance monitoring and evaluation. The JEU also works with partners to integrate the environment into global cluster guidance and at country levels to develop specific action plans in priority countries. Read more on EHA Connect.

The JEU also hosts the Environmental Emergencies Forum and the Green Star Awards.

Resources & training

The UN Environment/OCHA Joint Unit is behind many free online resources, namely:

Keep updated on news from the UN Environment/OCHA Joint Unit on Twitter or LinkedIn. 

UN Environment/OCHA Joint Unit Timeline

Curious about the history of the UN Environment/OCHA Joint Unit? Consult our timeline here for our entire history, including significant missions & projects the Unit has undertaken since 1994.

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