|Environmental Impact of Sudden Population Displacements - Expert Consultation on Priority Policy Issues and Humanitarian Aid (European Commission Humanitarian Office, 1995, 28 p.)|
|2. OPENING STATEMENTS|
The European Commission has so far this year spent over 500 million ECU (1 ECU = 1,35 USD) on refugees and internally displaced. Main countries absorbing these funds are Tanzania, Mozambique, Afghanistan, the Former Yugoslavia, and Liberia. Given the environmental impact of displaced populations, the Commission wishes to find approaches in which its emergency relief efforts can lessen the burden on the environment and as such contribute to future sustainable development. In particular, ECHO hopes this consultation will provide practicable preparedness approaches for relief assistance that can be implemented in a more environmentally sound manner. Such approaches must take into consideration that relief often comes in inadequate quantities to meet immediate needs, and that relief is also often delayed in arriving. Furthermore, it is clear that such approaches need to be devised on the realisation that the root causes and solutions are to be found at the community level.
Donor agencies increasingly recognise the importance of socio-economic and environmental issues in the context of promoting development through relief. With this expert consultation, the European Commission wishes to bring together a small group of experts in technical and socio-economic issues capable of discussing and laying the ground level issues related to the linkages between population displacement, the environment and relief. The purpose of the consultation is to furnish ECHO with policy directions for environmental management in humanitarian aid programmes.
While initially the aim was to develop operational guidelines for field work, following discussions with executing agencies, it was later felt that the policy climate has to be clarified before operational guidelines be developed. Establishing clear priority policy direction for an emergency operations is therefore the first objective of our gathering here.