Early recovery

Early recovery starts the moment a crisis begins and involves everything from waste and debris management to agriculture to education to shelter. Because early recovery touches upon every component of a humanitarian response, it also intersects with environment. Early recovery is often the most obvious link to environment since early recovery work, if undertaken correctly, can lead to more sustainable and prosperous communities. Early recovery involves building back better and minimizing the environmental impact from a humanitarian response to ensure that people can recover in a healthy, secure and sustainable way.

GuidelinesBack to top


Guidance Note on Early Recovery (CWGER)

Appendix section on environmental issues to consider in recovery, p 53.



Land and Natural Disasters: Guidance for Practioners (UN-Habitat 2010)

Guidelines provide a holistic approach to addressing land issues from the immediate aftermath of a natural disaster through early recovery and reconstruction phases. It is targeted at humanitarians and land professionals, as well as government officials. The guidelines take an inter-disciplinary approach to land, one that also brings together emergency relief and early recovery perspectives.



Brief Technical Guide: Building Waste (ProAct, Disaster Waste Recovery
& Shelter Centre)

Appendix offers guidance on developing a building waste plan, case studies of do’s and don’t’s and things to consider when deciding how to handle waste.  Training PowerPoint is available.



Hazardous Wastes (Oxfam)

Technical guidance on how to handle and store hazardous waste (hospital, industrial, chemical, asbestos, batteries, gas, etc).  Concerns and strategies applicable to emergency situations.



Large Scale Environmental Clean Up Campaigns (Oxfam)

Technical guide explains what to do with large amounts of waste and debris after an emergency.



Planning for Natural Disaster Debris (US EPA 2008)

Guidance on managing debris in cost and environmental effective manner that includes lessons learned and example preparedness management plans. The guidance is US-specific and requires strong recycling and disposal infrastructure in place prior to disaster, but advice still applies to humanitarian sector.



Solid Waste Management (UNEP 2005)

Explains technologies that are environmentally sound for managing solid waste, including processing, treatment and final disposal in the developing world. Some lessons and technology apply to humanitarian action.



Land and Conflict: A Handbook for Humanitarians (UNHabitat 2009)

The handbook navigates through issues related to vulnerable populations, IDPs, camps, livelihoods and land use. Lists do’s and don’ts and case studies related to the environment.



Key Things to Know About Environment as a “Cross-Cutting” Issue
in Early Recovery (UNEP)

Article explains in detail sectors that need specific environmental attention: hazardous substances, emergency waste management, water use, sanitation, energy consumption, refugee/IDP camps, transport and green procurement, p. 2 – 4. Includes general and sector-specific checklists of environment-related questions to ask when leading an assessment, p. 4 – 6.

ToolsBack to top


Early Recovery Checklist Based on an Environment Needs Assessment
(International Recovery Platform)

Series of questions to determine the extent of the environmental problems and issues after an emergency.



Emergency Waste Management Guidelines (UNEP)


TrainingBack to top


Training Module: Closing an Open Dumpsite and Shifting from Open Dumping
to Controlled Dumping and to Sanitary Land Filling (UNEP 2005)

Detailed guidance on closing open dumpsites and opening controlled dumpsite including management plans, monitoring and costs of waste disposal. Not emergency specific, but similar lessons and considerations apply to recovery plans.

Case studiesBack to top


Gaza Early Recovery Plan (Palestinian National Authority)

Report discusses environment impact of crisis and interventions to address the damage; budget included, p. 43 & 59



Mainstreaming Environment into Recovery: Myanmar (UNEP PCDMB)

Presentation examines ways in which disaster and recovery hurts environment, livelihoods and economy and stressed the need for these considerations in recovery.



Building Back A Green and Low-Carbon Community: Putting Environment
and Climate Change at the Heart of Recovery and Reconstruction
(UN China Country Team 2009)

Presentation identifies five areas and clusters that need environmental elements to address recovery (water & sanitation, restoring sustainable livelihoods, debris disposal, green reconstruction, restoring ecosystems and habitats).

ResourcesBack to top


Disaster Waste Recovery Website

Organisation offers debris recovery and solid waste management assistance after disasters and emergencies and maintains a broad roster of experts to for expertise and management.



Waste Concern Website

Organisation works with private and public sector on environmental improvement, waste recycling and renewable energy throughout Bangladesh. Projects and approach may be useful to humanitarian sector when addressing waste issues.