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close this bookEnvironmental Impact of Sudden Population Displacements - Expert Consultation on Priority Policy Issues and Humanitarian Aid (European Commission Humanitarian Office, 1995, 28 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the document1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
close this folder2. OPENING STATEMENTS
View the document2.1. Statement by Mr. E. Thielmann (ECHO III-Brussels)
View the document2.2. Statement by Dr D. Guha-Sapir (Université Catholique de Louvain - Brussels)
close this folder3. OVERVIEW OF POLICY ISSUES
View the document(introduction...)
View the document3.1. Environment and Sudden Population Displacement: Policy Issues for Humanitarian Action and Development Programmes (D. Guha-Sapir, Université Catholique de Louvain and M. Salih, Institute of Social Studies-The Hague)
View the document3.2. What Makes Emergencies Different? Interrelations of Development, Environment and Disasters (T. Cannon, University of Greenwich-London)
View the document3.3. Environmental Issues: UNHCR’s Experience and Response (R. Thiadens and H. Mori, UNHCR-Geneva)
View the document3.4. Environmental Change in Refugee Affected Areas: Research Needs and Future Directions (R. Black, University of Sussex-Brighton)
close this folder4. CASE STUDIES (SUMMARIES)
View the document4.1. Cooking Energy for Refugees: The Cases of Zaire and Kenya (A. Klingshirn and T. Hoerz, GTZ-Eschborn)
View the document4.2. Impact of Humanitarian Crises on Ecosystems (U. Bloesch, Swiss Disaster Relief-Bern)
View the document4.3. Environmental Health and Environmental Impact: Policy and Practice in Emergency Water Supply (P. Sherlock, Oxfam-Oxford)
View the document4.4. Environmental Impact of Refugees in Africa: Some Suggestions for Future Actions (Oweyegha-Afunaduula, University of Makerere-Kampala)
View the document4.5. When Refugees Stream: Environmental and Political Implications of Population Displacement (Shin-wha Lee, Harvard University-Cambridge)
View the document6.1. Principle
close this folder6.2. Time framework and policy parameters
View the documenti. Preparedness Phase
View the documentii. Emergency Phase
View the documentiii. Relief Phase (care and maintenance)
close this folder6.3. Urgent policy concerns
View the documenti. Energy
View the documentii. Shelter
View the documentiii. Agriculture
View the documentiv. Site and size of settlements
View the documentv. Indigenous knowledge
View the documentvi. Research and impact assessment
close this folder6.4 Institutions, resources and technical interventions
View the documenti. Institutional issues
View the documentii. Resource competition concerns
View the documentiii. Technical issues
close this folderANNEXES
View the document1. Selected Bibliography
View the document2. List of Participants
View the document3. Support Staff
View the document4. Programme and Presentations

3.2. What Makes Emergencies Different? Interrelations of Development, Environment and Disasters (T. Cannon, University of Greenwich-London)

Disasters receive disproportionate attention by the international community. This is a result of media attention, as well as of institutional behaviour. With reference to the latter, in understanding the current governmental/international approach to disasters, it is important to recognise that current institutions define problems in terms of what they can do rather than in terms of what is effectively needed. In the last fifteen years we have seen a fundamental shift away from emergency assistance towards an integration of aid and development. Yet in general, organisations that are dedicated to dealing with humanitarian assistance have a tendency to consider problems as defined by the role expected of them and which they are capable - within given political constraints - of delivering. They are constrained from seeing a broader picture in which emergencies might be a relatively much less significant. With reference to prevention of complex emergencies, why are so few resources allocated to such actions? Part of the answer to this question is that institutions are constrained by diplomacy, and the principle of the nation state. Responses to disasters are therefore opportunity- and capability-driven, rather than needs-driven.

How do we add, therefore, environmental management as part of emergency response, without institutional self-justification? In addition, why is it necessary to specifically recognise the environment as a category to signify problems when dealing with disaster emergencies? In other words, would such money be better spent elsewhere on environmental issues? Is it possible to treat environmental issues within the framework of the ‘normal’ processes and aid efforts that are under way in emergencies, and without significantly adding to costs, or shifting the burden on the environment elsewhere?

Finally, five policy objectives were proposed:

- Assist in removing or reducing the threat that has caused expulsion;

- Provide safe and healthy environment for the duration of the expulsion;

- Deliver and maintain supplies as necessary for the welfare of refugees and minimising animosity of host people;

- Minimise activities by displaced people that have a negative environmental impact;

- Where repatriation is likely to be impossible or to take a long time, the negotiation with prior users for access to environmental resources that minimises conflict with host communities.