Camp Co-ordination and Camp Management Cluster (CCCM)

Guideline on Camp Phase-out and Closure

Project dates: February 2008 - March 2009 for displaced people are only ever intended to serve as a temporary solution, even though many may actually remain in place for several decades or longer. Environmental considerations need to be taken into account at all stages of a camp's existence, from the moment a site for a camp is being identified, to the time when it is actually closed.

While much progress has been made in integrating environmental issues into camp planning and management, there is still a need for more to be done.

One phase which has been particularly overlooked thus far relates to camp phase-out and closure. To address this gap, ProAct and CARE International have developed a Handbook on Camp Phase-out and Closure for the Camp Co-ordination and Camp Management (CCCM) Cluster, in collaboration with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). Intended primarily for field practitioners, the Handbook provides a detailed overview of some of the main aspects which need to be considered when a camp is being prepared for closure, as well as a possible sequence of events which might be considered, but highlights the fact that each situation needs to be assessed on the basis of its own qualities and needs.

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Integrating Environmental Issues into WASH Cluster Activities (WASH II)

Project dates: February - July 2010 point in RwandaProviding emergency water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services are common issues and clear priorities in virtually all humanitarian crises. Taking environmental considerations into account at this time, however, is also important so as to reduce further suffering on people and to ensure that the physical environment or many of the essential services a healthy environment provides are not negatively impacted.
Refugee camp water point in Rwanda

Possible environmental issues to look out for in WASH operations are excessive pumping from wells, which can lead to the intrusion of saline groundwater, or poorly sited and built latrines, with the risk of overflow to shelter areas or infiltration to groundwater.

Based on a scoping study conducted in 2008, in collaboration with CARE International and the Global WASH Cluster, ProAct Network is now supporting follow-on work that seeks to provide the WASH Cluster with specific guidance and technical documentation that will help planners and practitioners to take some of the main, recurrent environmental considerations into account in a more proactive manner.

The project will develop an environmental position paper and guidelines for the WASH Cluster, as well as technical guidance documents on:

  • disposal of water treatment wastes (chemical sludges) in emergencies;
  • reducing the environmental impacts of disaster wastes in emergencies;
  • recycling and re-use of waste materials in emergencies; and
  • reducing the environmental impacts of vector control chemicals in emergencies.

Water Sanitation and Hygiene Cluster (WASH)

Integrating environmental issues into emergency WASH activities

Project dates: April - December 2008 water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) issues are closely linked to environmental conditions during an emergency. Poorly designed or managed WASH activities can readily lead to unnecessary environmental damage and increased suffering, including health problems for disaster survivors.
Providing people with access to safe drinking water is often a challenge in emergency situations, Lac Vert IDP Camp, Democratic Republic of Congo

Working with CARE International and the Global WASH Cluster, ProAct Network has undertaken a scoping study for the Cluster on"Integrating Environmental Issues into Emergency WASH Activities". A second, follow-up phase of work started early 2010.

The Environment and Emergency Shelter: Building Environmental Capacities to Respond to Urgent Shelter Needs

ProAct Network has just finished implementation of the Integrating Critical Environmental Issues into Emergency Shelter Cluster Activities project funded by UNHCR through CARE International. The project focused on developing human capacities and technical resources to integrate environmental issues into emergency shelter operations.

Creating a cadre of Environment Advisors was one of the project's objectives. Shelter specialists often have little time to consider environmental issues during emergencies. Environment Advisors can support emergency shelter operations by bring environmental awareness and knowledge to the provision of shelter following a disaster. training1The training materials developed by Interworks were piloted in two regional trainings. The first training took place in mid-March in Sri Lanka for the South Asia region. The second training took place in Honduras in early April for the Central America/Caribbean region. The Sri Lanka training had a total of 16 participants and took place in collaboration of RedR UK through their Sri Lanka office. The Honduras training had a total of 17 participants and was held in collaboration with WWF United States and WWF Central America. One of the highlights of both training was a field exercise where trainees were able to use the Emergency Shelter Environmental Impact Assessment and Action Checklist, an assessment tool developed by ProAct Network under the project.

Both trainings were considered as a success by the organizers and participants. The trainings increased the number of potential Shelter Cluster Environment Advisors from eight to 46 individuals, with many potential advisors speaking a second language fluently. training2Also in April ProAct Network undertook a rapid assessment of environmental conditions related to the displacement of conflict-affected populations in northern Sri Lanka. The assessment was initiated at the request of UNHCR and completed in cooperation with CARE International in Sri Lanka. ProAct Network hired a participant in the Sri Lanka Environment Advisor training living in Sri Lanka and supported her with a more experience Environment Advisor in a mentoring role.

The assessment indentified a number of significant environmental challenges related to the IDP sites in northern Sri Lanka. The assessment recommended Sri Lanka NGOs take a greater role in addressing environment-related environmental issues at the IDP sites, the posting of an Environment Advisor to support relief operations, and greater engagement between humanitarian organizations and the government on medium and long term planning to create environmentally sustainable IDP sites. training3Download the training modules (linked to 3.3.17)

Emergency Shelter Cluster (ESC)

Integrating Critical Environmental Issues into Emergency Shelter Cluster Activities

Project dates: February 2008 - May 2009

In an emergency, many people are forced to rely on natural resources – trees and foliage – to provide support for plastic sheeting or other shelter items, as well as for basic roofing materials.

Damage caused to the environment at such times, however, is often irreparable and can have lasting impacts on existing communities, who may have relied on such resources as a means of living. an attempt to ensure that environmental considerations are routinely taken into consideration prior to and immediately following an emergency, ProAct and CARE International are developing a series of resources intended to support the global Emergency Shelter Cluster and its lead agencies, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

The project "Integrating Critical Environmental Issues into Emergency Shelter Cluster Activities" includes the development of:

an environmental policy paper, focussing on emergency shelter;
a checklist of key issues to consider in relation to providing emergency shelter;
an assessment of shelter materials; and
a roster of environmental experts who could respond to an emergency situation.

Download the Environment training modules for Emergency Shelter Experts.
ProAct has trained 33 Environment Advisors both in Sri Lanka and Honduras.

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