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  • Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit JEU
    Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Emergency Services Branch Office D115 - Palais des Nations
    1211 Geneva
    Switzerland

    Email: ochaunep@un.org
    Phone: +41 22 9171478
    Website: http://www.unocha.org/unep

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Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit (JEU)

UN & International Organization

http://www.unocha.org/unep

The Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit (JEU) responds to environmental emergencies by coordinating international efforts and mobilizing partners to assist affected countries requesting assistance. By pairing the environmental expertise of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the humanitarian...

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Mission

The Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit (JEU) responds to environmental emergencies by coordinating international efforts and mobilizing partners to assist affected countries requesting assistance.

By pairing the environmental expertise of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the humanitarian response network coordinated by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the JEU ensures an integrated approach in responding to environmental emergencies.

The JEU works in three priority areas:
- Response: In the first hours after an environmental emergency, UNEP and OCHA can mobilise experts and equipment, such as mobile laboratories, to the affected area. These teams conduct rapid assessments, test for the presence of hazardous materials, analyse the possible effects on communities, and help national authorities develop strategies to respond.

- Preparedness: The JEU works in a number of ways to increase the preparedness of communities, disaster responders, governments, and industries against the potential risks and impacts of environmental emergencies.

- Integrating Environment in Humanitarian Action: Ensuring that environmental considerations are integrated into the humanitarian programmatic cycle: including strategic planning, contingency planning, humanitarian financing, and performance monitoring and evaluation. The JEU works to ensure that environmental issues are an integral part of all elements of the humanitarian response.

Disaster Reduction Goal

The JEU is dealing with Disaster Risk Reduction through its Environmental Emergencies Preparedness and Resilience programs. Indeed, preparedness can effectively reduce the impact of an environmental emergency. National authorities can strengthen and increase their capacity to respond to and be prepared for these types of emergencies by learning from similar cases, as well as working with experts to assess the potential risks and threats, establishing and acting upon effective contingency plans and adopting recommended guidelines. Specialised trainings, simulations and dedicated exercises provided by the JEU reduce the effects on the local population, build resilience and in turn reduce the reliance on international assistance.

Policies and Programmes in DRR

The JEU developed the Environmental Emergency Centre (EEC), a joint OCHA and UNEP support tool for national and regional capacity development activities in response to industrial and technological accidents, and the environmental impacts of natural disasters and complex emergencies.
The Centre seeks to assist with strengthening the capacity of emergency planners, disaster managers, national and local authorities in vulnerable and low- and middle-income countries who must plan for and respond to these types of emergencies.
All services and training related to preparedness and resilience can be found on the Environmental Emergencies Centre (www.eecentre.org).

Membership in Key Networks

AGEE
The Advisory Group on Environmental Emergencies (AGEE) is a biennial global forum that brings together key government, industry, academic, and non-governmental representatives – policy makers, environmental experts and disaster managers – from around the world to improve prevention, preparedness, response and overall resilience to environmental emergencies.

Risk assessment and early warning systems (HFA 2)

The JEU provides assistance in conducting country-level environmental/industrial hazard identification assessments. The JEU develops guidance for environmental emergency preparedness and response and develops national and regional capacity for the use of tools such as the Hazard Identification Tool (HIT) and the Flash Environmental Assessment Tool (FEAT). The JEU supports national counterparts on issues ranging from industrial accident contingency planning and oil spill preparedness to environmental impact assessments of natural disasters.

Education, information and public awareness (HFA 3)

The JEU advocates for integration of environmental considerations into the humanitarian programme cycle, which is key to ensuring a holistic approach to humanitarian assistance. Closer integration of sustainability aspects into humanitarian action and response contributes to bridging the gap between humanitarian and development programming, thereby supporting the understanding of recovery as an entry point for building back better and driving the resilience agenda. The JEU does this by integrating environmental considerations into key humanitarian tools and guidelines, including UNDAC framework, humanitarian guidance documents as well as sector- and cluster-specific tools and resources. The JEU also provides a number of tools and guidelines to assist national authorities and emergency responders in being better prepared for responding to environmental emergencies. Those guidelines are available on the Environmental Emergencies Centre (EEC), an online tool designed by the JEU, and feature, among other, guidelines on Contingency Planning, on Disaster Waste Management, for Environmental Assessment Following Chemical Emergencies, and for Environmental Emergency Response Mechanism.

Preparedness for effective response (HFA 5)

Based on needs and requests for assistance, the JEU conducts scoping missions to assess underlying risk factors with the potential to cause environmental emergencies. Examples of such assessments include South Sudan, where the JEU together with UNEP and UNHCR, conducted a rapid environmental assessment to develop a strategy and framework for protecting environmental resources in humanitarian programming, as well as the Philippines, where environmental expertise was deployed to integrate environmental issues and impacts into recovery programming, with the aim to reduce underlying environmental causes and build back better.

The JEU works in a number of ways to increase the preparedness of communities, disaster responders, governments, and industries against the potential risks and impacts of environmental emergencies. The JEU has developed the Environmental Emergencies Centre (EEC), an online tool designed to build the capacity of national responders to environmental emergencies by strengthening their own mechanisms and drawing on external resources and services for guidance and preparedness, including a number of e-Learning training modules and workshops. The JEU also supports United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination - Environmental Emergency Training (UNDAC EET) sessions, that occurred frequently in order to prepare UNDAC members for rapid deployment. The JEU also prepared the Guidelines for Environmental Emergencies to advise both providing and potential recipient countries on how to mobilize, receive and/or provide international assistance in the event of an environmental emergency.

Other activities

The JEU works in close partnership with UNEP’s Division of Technology, Industry and Economics (DTIE) and more especially on two major initiatives: APELL and the Flexible Framework Initiative.
The Awareness and Preparedness for Emergencies at Local Level, known by its acronym, APELL, is a programme developed by UNEP to minimize the occurrence and harmful effects of technological accidents and environmental emergencies. The APELL programme and the JEU work closely to ensure a more integrated approach to prevention, preparedness, and response to environmental emergencies.
The Flexible Framework Initiative is the shorthand name for UNEP’s Flexible Framework for Addressing Chemical Accident Prevention and Preparedness. It is the programme in the UNEP portfolio on Safer Production that supports national chemical accident prevention and preparedness. The Flexible Framework document provides guidance for governments wishing to develop, review, strengthen or improve their chemical accident prevention and preparedness programmes.

Disaster Risk Reduction Focal Point(s)

OCHA Environmental Emergencies Section (Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit)
Emergency Services Branch ¦ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs ¦ Palais des Nations ¦ CH 1211 Geneva 10 ¦ Switzerland
Tel: +41 22 917 14 78
Fax: +41 22 917 0257
E-mail: ochaunep@un.org
Website: www.unocha.org/unep
http://www.eecentre.org/

Websites

http://www.humanitarianresponse.info/themes/environment
http://www.eecentre.org/

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  • Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Emergency Services Branch Office D115 - Palais des Nations 1211 Geneva Switzerland

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  • Conferences:  - 2017 Global Platform
     - 2019 Global Platform

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