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.