Refugees and IDPs are often the most negatively affected by poor environmental practices with regard to fuel and energy, camp location, natural resources, water, food and agricultural in crisis situations. Women and children are often at risk when attempting to collect firewood or water. Refugee and IDP activities can then have a negative impact on the environment as well, if not planned adequately. Deforestation and land degradation due to a massive influx of people can than make recovery and development in the area nearly impossible.

GuidelinesBack to top


Refugee Operations and Environmental Management: Key Principles for
Decision-Makers (UNHCR 2001)

Guidance explains the principles to follow and environmental problems to address in refugee operations and goes beyond basic stoves and trees, discusses prevention over cure.



UNHCR Environmental Guidelines (UNHCR 2005)

Guidelines to further assist governments, partners and in-country staff to better understand and appreciate the need for careful and consistent approaches to environmental management.

ToolsBack to top


Forest Management in Refugee and Returnee Situations.
A Handbook of Sound Practices (ProAct)

Handbook explains opportunities to minimize environmental impacts of forest operations, timber and woods as livelihoods and guidelines for developing locally appropriate initiatives for managing this natural resource, especially in refugee operations.  Covers all phases from emergency to durable solutions.

TrainingBack to top


Environmental Management within Refugee Operations: Training Module
(UNHCR 1998)

Tool includes a mock interview with programme officer and follow-up case questions to determine better environmental practices, p 49-52. Baseline data indicators of environment in countries of asylum, p 61. Example of UNHCR, FAO and CARE assessing environment issues in Tanzania surrounding Rwandan refugees, p 62-63.



Environmental Management in Refugee Situations Learning Workshop, Kigali, Rwanda
(UNHCR and CARE 2009)

Training for government authorities, implementing partners and refugees. Topics include: mainstreaming environment, forestry, domestic energy, small scale agriculture, water and soil, REA and CEAP.

Best practicesBack to top


UNHCR Partner Wins Green Award for Pioneering Ethanol Stove (UNHCR 2008)

UNHCR’s implementing partner, Gaia Association, in Ethiopia, distributed CleanCook stoves to refugee families and daily distributes molasses-based fuel. Lower emissions, increased female safety, decreased health risks and less time collecting firewood.



The Ecological Impact of Refugee/Returnee Programmes Supported by NRC
in Burundi: A Review of Actions Taken to Mitigate Such Impacts (ProAct & NRC)

External evaluation of NRC’s attempt to reduce its environmental impact in Burundi in its camp operations and programmes. Overall, NRC is deemed successful. Report reviews the ways NRC accomplished its goal, success and failures, recommendations, tools and checklists for ensuring minimal impact in office, energy/fuel, shelter, etc.