September 03, 2014
Location: Geneva - and via phone

11:00-12:30, Room S4, Palais des Nations, Geneva
People who cannot attend in person can dial into the meeting.

"Destruction of livelihoods and deforestation as a result of brick production for humanitarian operations in Darfur. Dried up wells due to over-drilling for water by humanitarian organisations in Afghanistan. Ruined livelihoods from an over-provision of fishing boats and consequent fishing stock depletion in post-Tsunami Sri Lanka. Failure to meet waste treatment standards leading to environmental contamination in Haiti and the largest outbreak of cholera in recent history.”

These examples illustrate how humanitarian or peacekeeping actors, by failing to take environmental issues into consideration, undermine their purpose: to save lives and preserve and restore human livelihoods.

The recent study “Environment and Humanitarian Action. Increasing Effectiveness, Sustainability and Accountability” found that despite the critical links between environment and effective humanitarian action, environment has not yet been systematically mainstreamed into preparedness and response. It recommends that in order to increase the effectiveness of aid, change must happen at three levels:

1. At the system level by addressing the lack of leadership and accountability around environment in the humanitarian system and ensuring that environment is taken into consideration in a timely and consistent manner in all operations and at all levels.

2. At the operational level, by mainstreaming environment into every part of a response and placing a greater focus on risk management, which includes environmental risks and liabilities.

3. In humanitarian donorship: donors should lead by example and mainstream environment at the “front-end” of humanitarian programming, making the consideration of environmental impacts explicit in their decisions and committing to longer term funding.

At the IASC event, the panellists representing donors, environmental field experts, and headquarters level will discuss successes and challenges with regards to integrating environmental considerations into humanitarian action from their various perspectives. Furthermore, they will outline suggestions for the way forward in enhancing this important issue and will invite participants to share their views and experiences on the matter.

Please join us for a discussion with:

- Ms. Heli Lehto (Permanent Mission of Finland, Geneva) Ms. Heli Lehto is currently working as a First Secretary at the Permanent Mission of Finland in Geneva. Her duties at the Finnish Mission include humanitarian affairs and migration. Before joining the Permanent Mission in Geneva, she was posted to the Embassy of Finland in New Delhi, India. At Finnish Diplomatic Missions abroad, Ms. Lehto has also served at the Embassy of Finland in Mexico.

- Ms. Anna Hjarne (Environmental Field Advisor, Sudan) Ms. Anna Hjärne was deployed as Environmental Field Advisor to Sudan from August 2013 until May 2014 to support the country team in mainstreaming environment in humanitarian action. Ms. Hjärne is WASH adviser and was deployed to Sudan by the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB), through the OCHA Stand-by Partnership Program (SBPP).

- Ms. Wendy Cue (OCHA) Ms. Wendy Cue has been Chief of the Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit since July 2012. Her previous assignments with the UN include as Head of the OCHA Office in Nepal, Coordinator for the Nepal Risk Reduction Consortium, Field Manager for the Pandemic Influenza Contingency, and Team Leader for human rights investigations in Rwanda and Haiti.

Further information/resources:

Environmental Emergencies Centre (including eLearning modules): 

LOCATION: Getting to Room S4 (Moroccan Room): Room S4 is on the third Floor in the S Building. Enter the Palais des Nations through Door S2 and turn left. Follow the hall until you reach Escalier 3. Take this staircase to the 3rd Floor. Room S4 is on your right side. Please see the map of the Palais attached. Please note that the meeting takes place in room S4 and not Room IV. Please see the map of the Palais attached.

Dial-in: for those who cannot attend the meeting in person, please dial the following number +41 22 917 0900; your code will be 71438.

Important security information GENEVA:  If you wish to participate in this meeting in Geneva, but do not have a badge to enter the Palais des Nations, please inform the IASC Secretariat by sending us an e-mail including your name and organization by noon (Gva time), Tuesday, 2 September 2014 to, Please bring your passport to present to security on the day of the meeting.