Environment and Climate Action Innovation

Our vision

UNHCR aims to promote new, creative ideas and approaches to tackle the global environmental and climate crises, recognizing that such action is crucial in order to provide international protection and humanitarian assistance. Forcibly displaced and stateless people are particularly vulnerable to climate impacts, and typical humanitarian responses can worsen rather than address the drivers of environmental degradation and climate change, potentially fuelling further displacement. We must innovate before it’s too late.

Our approach

Environmental challenges are multi-faceted – so, generating innovative and effective solutions requires holistic thinking and a careful dismantling of the disciplinary silos that so often limit integrated  action. The Environment and Climate Action Innovation Programme nurtures novel ideas to boost climate and environment action, resilience, adaptive capacity, and sustainability by:

Innovating with and for communities

Forcibly displaced and stateless people and those who host them are active participants to ensure solutions are developed with their skills, capacities and priorities.

Identifying the most promising ideas

Rigorous selection processes govern which innovative ideas the Programme pursues, whether through its Environment and Climate Action Innovation Fund or through strategic investment and collaborations within UNHCR.

Taking agile, not predetermined action

Experimentation, agility, learning and potential impact are emphasized, rather than meeting predetermined targets.

Developing partnerships and synergies

The Programme supports UNHCR colleagues to establish local and regional partnerships with diverse and “unconventional” actors, filling knowledge gaps and leveraging different perspectives.

Making the environment mainstream

An environmental ethos and positive relationship with nature must be mainstreamed to influence not only our programmes but also our work with partners, suppliers, and stakeholders.

Our impact

We’re working to ensure UNHCR’s activities are more effective, equitable, and sustainable – delivering lasting benefits to people and planet, with and for refugees. The Environment and Climate Action Innovation Programme contributes to UNHCR’s strategic priorities by finding solutions to key operational challenges in areas including protection, inclusion, settlements, shelter, WASH, energy, waste management and more. Work on issues on environmental sustainability, climate change, and resilience must be multi-sectoral and organization-wide, so the Programme encourages exploration of cross-cutting topics like nature based solutions, digital technologies, disaster risk reduction, nature conservation, and circular economy. 

Environment and Climate Action Innovation Fund

Designed in collaboration with UNHCR’s Office of the Special Advisor on Climate Action, Division of Resilience and Solutions, and Division of Emergency Security and Supply, the Environment and Climate Action Innovation Fund provides the space and resources UNHCR colleagues need to explore impacts of the environmental and climate crises and devise innovative solutions, alongside communities.


    Loading Posts

Generously supported by the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Arm, and the UPS Foundation

Contact us

Are you working on innovative approaches to the impacts and drivers of environmental degradation and climate change in contexts of forced displacement? Do you have questions about our work, or perspectives to share? Get in touch at: