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UNHCR Global Appeal 1999 - The Environment Trust Fund


UNHCR Global Appeal 1999 - The Environment Trust Fund

1 December 1998

UNHCR established the Environment Trust Fund in 1993. One of the main objectives of this fund is to apply the principles underlying UNHCR's environmental policies and guidelines through activities in the field. The Fund also helps provide technical support by issuing guidelines and reports, deploying environmental specialists and organizing workshops. Through training workshops and publications, UNHCR sensitizes its own staff and that of its implementing partners on the importance of environmental interventions in refugee situations.

Field model projects

The Trust Fund has supported activities such as environmental planning, an environmental database, promotion of energy-saving practices, agro-forestry, soil and water conservation, area protection, reforestation and environmental education.

Model projects are formulated on the basis of lessons learned from previous environmental projects in the field. For example, energy-saving stoves should be simple to use, inexpensive, designed and produced using locally available materials and techniques. If this type of stove is used in conjunction with other practical energy-saving cooking practices, such as using only dry wood, extinguishing cooking fires promptly, and using big pots with lids, large amounts of wood can be saved.

In recent years, model projects have been or are being implemented in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mauritania, Nepal, Rwanda, the Sudan, United Republic of Tanzania, Thailand, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. In 1999, model projects will be expanded to cover other countries where environmental problems have not been fully addressed. The Trust Fund supports environmental data collection, based on Geographical Information Systems (GIS), as a tool for enhancing the effectiveness of environmental management. Data sources include maps, aerial photography, satellite imagery and Geographical Positioning Systems (GPS). The Trust Fund is also used to promote testing and evaluation of new technologies, such as solar cookers, grass burners and biodigesters for alternative energy sources, that mitigate harm to the environment. Paper poles are also being tested as alternative shelter materials, since one cause of deforestation is the use of wooden poles for shelter.

Technical support

UNHCR issued its Environmental Guidelines in 1996; Environmentally Friendlier Procurement Guidelines followed a year later. In 1998, three sets of sectoral environmental guidelines on forestry, domestic energy and livestock were issued. Developed using the resources of the Trust Fund, these guidelines were widely disseminated among UNHCR field offices and implementing partners and are being used to strengthen technical expertise of field staff. In 1999 sectoral environmental guidelines on agriculture will be finalized. The Trust Fund also makes it possible to deploy field environmental coordinators and specialists as well as to support field environmental workshops for the staff of UNHCR, implementing partners and host Governments.

Sensitizing the staff of UNHCR and implementing partners

UNHCR is working to mainstream environmental concerns in all relevant field operations. To this end it is extremely important to sensitize UNHCR and implementing partner staff to the importance of incorporating environmental considerations while planning and implementing relevant activities. With support from the Trust Fund, UNHCR held a pilot regional environmental training workshop for East and Horn of Africa in 1998 and plans to have similar workshops in Asia, the Great Lakes region of Africa and West Africa in 1999. A training module for environmental management within refugee operations was developed and disseminated in 1998. Lessons learned from previous and ongoing environment-related activities in the field were gathered and published in two booklets: Refugee Operations and Environmental Management: Selected Lessons Learned and Refugee Operations and Environmental Management: Key Principles for Decision-making. A video was produced for both awareness-raising and training purposes. Environmental components in UNHCR's web site were also revised in 1998. In 1999 these awareness-raising materials will be updated as appropriate.

Budget US$

Support to field activities and model projects to promote Environmental Guidelines905,000
Environmental planning and monitoring system (including GIS database)350,000
Field testing of environmental technology225,000
Environmentally friendlier procurement15,000
Identification and deployment of environmental experts60,000
Environmental training180,000
Promotion of environmental awareness20,000
International cooperation15,000
Environment Unit administrative costs425,577