Disaster Waste


Video contest
The United Nations Environment/OCHA Joint Unit is looking for creative souls to develop short videos that reflect issues of environmental emergency preparedness, response or environmental risk in humanitarian action. Use your creativity to produce a 2 minutes video that reflects your vision and/or reflections on environmental emergencies! The winner will be selected according to various criteria including originality, video quality, and accurate depiction of the chosen theme. Deadline: 31 July. 
Prize: Travel and accomodation to attend the conference on 26-28 september 2017, Nairobi, Kenya.


Training opportunity
In collaboration with the European Commission, the UN Environment / OCHA Joint Unit is pleased to invite environmental emergency experts to apply for the Environment and Emergencies Training (EET) course, which will be held from 16 to 21 September 2017 in Slovenia, in partnership with the Slovenian Civil Protection Disaster Relief (URSZR) department.
More details


Disaster Waste Management

Disaster generated waste presents a major impediment to rescue operations and to the delivery of humanitarian aid. It also poses a risk to health, safety, the environment and to livelihoods recovery. When done right, timely and proper disaster waste management makes responses safer, more efficient, conserves natural resources and lays the foundation for long-term recovery.

Extreme events, whether “natural” or “man made”, often make it difficult to properly manage normal waste streams. These challenge are often exacerbated by the generation of large amounts of additional waste – both hazardous and general, presenting additional challenges for civil society, local and national governments, private sector and humanitarian and emergency responders, as well as for communication and other support systems. Many existing policies and plans, whether they relate to waste management or to disaster risk management, do not address the need for sound management of disaster generated waste. Disaster Waste Management often “falls between the cracks”.

While disasters themselves are episodic, Disaster Waste Management needs to be an ongoing priority, rather that just during and after a disaster. Uncertainties confound Disaster Waste Management, including the timing and magnitude of each disaster, and the amounts and types of waste that will be generated. For these reasons alone, Disaster Waste Management must be an integral part of development planning and processes. Such “mainstreaming” ensures that Disaster Waste Management will be treated as a priority issue, on an ongoing basis.


The aftermath of an earthquake in Sichuan Province, China, in 2008. Photo: World Bank/Wu Zhiyi



IETC is working closely with the Joint Environment Unit of the UN Environment/UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and other partners in Mainstreaming Disaster Waste Management. IETC has been involved in the development of comprehensive strategies to assist national and local governments to built resilient cities around the world. In February 2017, IETC held a Symposium on Disaster Waste Management in Osaka. With over 80 participants from 12 different countries, this event was a unique opportunity for stakeholders to share their experience and ideas in order to improve international cooperation around this issue.

Mainstreaming Disaster Waste Management Symposium/Scoping Workshop UN Environment
International Environmental Technology Center 

Osaka, 13-15 February 2017 



 The past and ongoing projects include:

  • Disaster debris management in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, following the tsunami of 2004.


Disaster Waste Management Mechanism
A Practical Guide for Construction and Demolition Wastes in Indonesia



  • Tohuku expert mission on the Great Eastern Japan earthquake and tsunami of 2011.

Managing post-disaster debris
The Japan experience



  • ISWM for disaster prone cities in the Greater Bangkok following the flooding of 2011.





  • Disaster Waste Management Guidelines issued by the Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit in March 2013.

Disaster Waste Management Guidelines
March 2013




  • The development of a disaster waste management national strategy for Nepal.

Disaster waste management policy, strategy and action plan
Kathmandu, Nepal December 2015 




An aerial view of the vast destruction of the Indonesian coast, between the towns of Banda Aceh and Meulaboh, caused by the 26 December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. UN Photo/Evan Schneider


Training opportunity

The EET course builds upon the sessions on environmental emergencies integrated in the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) induction and refresher courses. The course informs participants about potential environmental damage of disasters and how to apply relevant tools and approaches to minimize negative impacts of emergencies. The EET course also focuses on the role and position of environmental experts in disaster environments. You will find attached a concept note of the course and a registration form. 

While the course is targeted to the European Union’s Civil Protection Mechanism (UPCM) states’ experts, eight (8) spots are available to UNDAC members and JEU response partner experts, including representatives of member states emergency/environmental authorities. Note that (European) Union Civil Protection Mechanism participating states can apply directly through the Mechanism training focal points (by 22 June). Specifically, we are looking for environmental experts fluent in French or Spanish to join the course. Selected participants are expected to attend the course from its beginning to its end, and to arrive at the training site on 16 September in the morning. Travel, accommodation and full board from 16 to 21 September 2017 can be covered for developing country representatives. We expect experts who have completed the course to make themselves available for environmental emergency response and preparedness missions. 

The course will be conducted in English, without translation. Completion of three (3) online training courses, available on the Environmental Emergencies Centre (EEC), is mandatory prior to attending the EET course ( http://learning.eecentre.org/login/index.php ). The full selection criteria is found in the concept note.

Interested applicants should send their completed registration form (attached) and CV to Emilia Wahlstrom ( wahlstrom@un.org by 30 June 2017 . Selected participants will be contacted in due time by JEU. 


Related links

UN Environment OCHA Joint Unit (JEU):  http://www.unocha.org/themes/environmental-emergencies
Environmental Emergencies Centre:  http://www.eecentre.org/
Prevention Web:  http://www.preventionweb.net/english/
Environment and Emergencies Forum:  http://eecentre.org/eef/
Disaster Waste Management Guidelines: http://www.eecentre.org/?p=1609

Tacking a hurricane's trail of waste (the Dominican Republic)



For more information, please contact UN Environment-IETC's Focal Point on Disaster Waste:
Mr. Mahesh Pradhan