UN Environment's Disasters and Conflicts programme utilizes dynamic partnerships and draws on unique expertise to deliver innovative and efficient environmental solutions following natural and man-made crises, as well as minimizing threats to human well-being from environmental degradation. UN Environment focuses on achieving results in the key areas of Risk Reduction, Preparedness and Response, and Recovery.
The programme is comprised of several key entities:
Post-Conflict and Disaster Management Branch
The Post-Conflict and Disaster Management Branch in the Ecosystems Division has responded to crisis situations in more than 40 countries since 1999, delivering high-quality environmental expertise to national governments and partners in the UN family. Field-based assessments of the environmental impacts of crises on human health, livelihoods and security form the core of UN Environment’s conflict and disaster management operations. However, as the international community has shifted its focus from post-crisis intervention to crisis prevention, the branch has also expanded its operational range, adding disaster risk reduction and environmental cooperation for peacebuilding to its core services of post-crisis environmental assessment and recovery.
Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit
The Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit in UN Environment's Ecosystems Division mobilizes and coordinates the international emergency response to acute environmental risks caused by conflicts, natural disasters and industrial accidents. The Unit is housed with the UN Office of the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Emergency Services Branch, in Geneva, Switzerland. Engaging in over 15 different preparedness and response networks, the JEU liaises closely with member states and regional organizations, UN stakeholders, private sector, industry groups, academia and civil society. The Unit also enjoys strong in-kind and political support from member states through the Strategic Advisory Group on Environmental Emergencies, which is the principal advisory group to OCHA and UN Environment on environment and emergency topics.
Environment and Security Initiative
The Environment and Security (ENVSEC) Initiative, is a partnership whose members include UN Environment, UNDP, OSCE, UNECE and REC, builds on the combined strengths and field presence of the lead organizations to perform three key functions: assessment of environment and security risks, capacity-building and institutional development to strengthen regional cooperation, and the integration of environmental and security concerns and priorities into international and national policy-making. ENVSEC projects are implemented in Central Asia, the South Caucasus, and Eastern and South-Eastern Europe. The ENVSEC Secretariat is hosted by UNEP’s Regional Office for Europe in Geneva, Switzerland.
Awareness and Preparedness for Emergencies on a Local Level
The Responsible Industry and Value Chain Unit in UN Environment's Economy Division, based in Paris, France, leads an international initiative - the Flexible Framework Initiative for Addressing Chemical Accident Prevention and Preparedness (or the Flexible Framework Initiative) which promotes improved chemical accident prevention and preparedness (CAPP), particularly in rapidly industrializing economies that need support to address the increased risks of chemical accidents. The unit also manages the APELL (Awareness and Preparedness for Emergencies on a Local Level) Programme which has been working since 1986 to reduce possible industrial risks at the local level, raising awareness and local capacity for multi-party response in the event of a possible emergency. The programme works with communities in natural and hazard-prone areas, helping them prepare for and mitigate the environmental risks of industrial accidents.