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The Environmental Experts’ Hub (EEHub)

The Environmental Experts Hub (EEHub) provides practical guidance to experts deploying for environmental emergency preparedness and response missions through the UN Environment / OCHA Joint Unit (JEU). On this page, you will find all the necessary information, guidance, tools and training materials in preparation for deployment.

Deployment Mechanisms & Procedures

As an expert, you can be deployed in a UN Environment/OCHA Joint Unit standalone mission, or as part of an UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) mission.

This flowchart describes the emergency deployment process through the Joint Unit.

Depending on the type of mission and our operational partners, experts are deployed either as an Environmental Expert in Emergencies or as an Environmental Field Advisor.

Environmental Expert in Emergencies

Environmental Field Advisor

Environmental Experts in Emergencies are deployed at short notice, typically within 48h from a request for international assistance, for a limited period of time (two to four weeks).

The main task of an Environmental Expert is to rapidly identify secondary environmental impacts and risks following sudden-onset disasters with emphasis on those that pose immediate life-threatening risks to humans.

When deploying with an UNDAC team, the Environmental Expert is under the overall guidance of the UNDAC team leader, and is expected to contribute  with specific technical expertise, but otherwise follow the overall UNDAC team reporting lines and mechanisms, regardless of the deploying organization.

The main objectives of the deployment of an Environmental Expert are:

· To rapidly assess the environmental damages caused by a disaster which may harm human health

· Identify cross-cutting issues that need to be addresses immediately during response and for future long-term recovery

· Include environmental considerations into immediate response activities.

Consult the UNDAC Field Handbook to learn more about the policies & procedures of UNDAC.

Environmental Field Advisors are deployed for longer periods of time, up to 6 months, to support country offices on specific environmental issues. These deployments are typically undertaken under a stand-by partnership programme (SBPP), for example that of OCHA.

The objective of deploying an Environmental Field Advisor (EFA) is to identify and conduct a general evaluation of the risks the crisis poses to humans, livelihoods and the environment. The EFA also plays a key role in identifying major environmental risks associated with the crisis and/or humanitarian response and collaborating with partners to implement mitigation measures. An EFA supports the integration of environment as a cross-cutting issue and works to bridge the gap between humanitarian action and development activities. Environmental Field Advisors report to the Head of the deploying agency (for example, the OCHA Country Office) where they are based.

The main objectives of the deployment of an EFA are :

· To address the underlying environmental issues that may have contributed to the crisis or disaster in the first place as well as reducing the risk of recurrence.

· To prevent additional loss of lives and suffering; improve affected communities’ health and safety

· To protect livelihoods by safeguarding natural resources upon which those livelihoods depend.

Specific Terms of References

Please note that Terms of Reference are mission-specific, as they provide the overall objective and outline of the mission. The deployed expert is thus expected to discuss and adjust these with the Team Leader/Requesting Party upon arrival in country.

Below are examples of specific TORs:

You also may wish to have a look at the Environmental Emergencies Guidelines, notably the Alert and Deployment section.

The document outlines response mechanisms for environmental emergencies, including the roles of frameworks and regional/international institutions in emergency response. They were developed in cooperation with member states and organizations of the Strategic Advisory Group on Environmental Emergencies (SAGEE).

 

Typical Mission Timelines

Environmental Emergency Expert Deployment Timeline

Environmental Field Advisor Deployment Timeline

Mission pre-requisites and deliverables

Before the mission – Online training

Recommended modules

Experts interested in deploying as Environmental Experts for Emergencies or Environmental Field Advisors are strongly encouraged to complete the following modules before being deployed.

Additional training

In addition to these courses recommended for all, experts are also invited to complete the following two courses developed and provided by the UN Environment/OCHA Joint Unit on the Environmental Emergencies Centre Learning Platform.

Specialized training

Some missions require further specific trainings. Depending on the context, experts can be invited to complete the following modules developed by other partners of the JEU.

During and after mission 

Reporting

Regular updates and reporting on any acute environmental issues are expected from deployed experts.

Acute Environmental Issue on-site : Reporting on any acute environmental issue is to be done through the On-Site Operations Coordination Centre (OSOCC) and/or with the Requesting Party through the Team Leader.

Regular updates : An update is expected immediately upon arrival in country. Regular short updates, either in writing (1-2 paragraphs on issues encountered and activities planned for the upcoming days), or by call, are to be sent to the Joint Unit’s response focal point and the deploying environmental emergencies response provider every two to three days.

The frequency and means for regular reporting is agreed with the team and remote support partners, once all members have arrived in the country, depending on communication and other missions’ constraints.  A Plan of Action is expected as soon as possible (template below).

Key information on environmental risks, including results of the rapid environmental assessments using flagship JEU tools (eg. the Flash Environmental Assessment Tool – FEAT) are to be reported in the Virtual OSOCC (VOSOCC) under “Environmental risks”.

Final report

In the earliest days of reporting, an easy-to-read Executive Summary should be submitted. Similarly, the Executive Summary should provide a situational overview of the disaster context, response partners involved, assessment missions that have taken place and any preliminary findings. This early version will aid in the later development of the full mission report.

UNDAC reporting practicesUN Environment / OCHA Joint Unit reporting practices
When deployed on an UNDAC mission, the Environmental Expert is expected to substantially contribute to the UNDAC mission report, with the findings of the environmental assessment provided as an annex and using the standard JEU report template outline, with adjustments agreed upon with the team leader.For standalone environmental emergency missions, a final mission report is to be produced using the standard JEU reporting template (that you can download below). Mission reports offer a concise overview of mission activities, and should be written with a focus on the mission objective.

Please note: The expert should produce one main report using the Joint Unit’s template, which will be sent in Word format. The expert may be requested to produce reports for the deploying organization in other formats, as well as inputs to the overall disaster assessment report.

Reporting Templates and Guidelines

Multi-Cluster/Sector Initial Rapid Assessment (MIRA)

Carried out by key stakeholders during the first weeks following a sudden-onset disaster, the MIRA aims to provide fundamental information on the needs of affected populations and to support the identification of strategic humanitarian priorities. It thus enables all humanitarian actors to reach, from the outset, a common understanding of the situation and its likely evolution and to agree immediately on strategies.

OCHA Situation Report

In response to sudden-onset, large-scale emergencies, OCHA prepares Situation Reports that capture the overall scale of the disaster and humanitarian needs, the response given, funding of the emergency and gaps. Situation reports are key humanitarian products that help coordinate efforts, avoid duplication of humanitarian work and fill in the gaps.

Tools and Guidance

The Flash Environmental Assessment Tool (FEAT) 2.0The online Disaster Waste Management Guidelines
This tool povides a standardized and scientific methodology to help disaster workers identify, assess, and prioritize hazards from chemical releases caused by sudden disasters.These guidelines provide information on the typical waste produced during a disaster and the ways in which to deal with it.
EHA ConnectThe NEAT+
EHA Connect is a first-of-its-kind digital tool bringing the humanitarian and environmental communities together to support environmentally sustainable humanitarian actions.The NEAT is a simple and pragmatic project level tool that provides humanitarian actors with a snapshot of the sensitivity of the local environment and highlights underlying vulnerabilities.

 

Partners and Network

JEU response Mission Paraguay 2015

JEU response mission Colombia 2018

JEU response mission Mozambique 2019

JEU response mission Solomon Islands 2014

JEU response mission Solomon Islands 2014

JEU response mission Serbia 2014

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