NEAT+ Screening Environmental Risk in Humanitarian Settings

The Coordination of Assessments for Environment in Humanitarian Action (Joint Initiative) was set up to strengthen the coordination between environmental and humanitarian actors. The project brought together eight humanitarian and environmental organizations to improve the environmental sustainability of humanitarian actors. Following a request from initiative stakeholders, the Nexus Environmental Assessment Tool (NEAT+) was developed as a pragmatic project level tool that can be readily implemented in dynamic humanitarian contexts and provide information that aligns with and informs the humanitarian response. The Nexus Environmental Assessment Tool (NEAT+) is a rapid and simple project-level environmental screening tool for humanitarian actors. It addresses some of the barriers that currently inhibit the uptake of environmental assessment tools such as: technical complexity, time or resource intensiveness, requirement of environmental expertise, cumbersome usage, or incoherence with existing programming frameworks or donor requirements. The tool assesses the current sensitivity of the crisis-affected environment, highlighting and categorizing any underlying risks and vulnerabilities to the environment and affected communities. The tool also identifies potential activity related environmental risks posed by humanitarian relief and recovery projects. It is a first step screening process that identifies key environmental issues for follow up. The NEAT+ assessment process is designed deliberately light and agile and combines the strength of the Kobo Toolbox – an open source data collection tool developed by humanitarians for humanitarians with the analytical capabilities of Microsoft Excel. It takes an existing data collection tool familiar to humanitarians and combines it with the environmental science available within the nature conservation community. NEAT+ brings environmental assessments to humanitarians allowing them to identify and act on priority environmental risks, ensuring a more environmentally sustainable and accountable humanitarian response for the benefit of affected populations and future generations. The language in the tool has also been through a substantial in-house review process to simplify the wording for non-native English speakers and non-technical users. The NEAT+ has been successfully used in a refugee settlement in Zambia by UNHCR, UN Environment and OCHA, where it identified key environmental concerns that subsequently led to changes in planned procurement.

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