Rapid Environmental Assessment Tool (REA)

The Rapid Environmental Assessment Tool (REA) is a methodology for rapidly assessing and analyzing the environmental context of a particular crisis or disaster.

When applied, it enables strategic and efficient response planning to mitigate identified priority environmental risks. The Rapid Environmental Assessment process has been successfully applied in numerous disasters for more than 20 years and was recently updated through the Joint Initiative to reflect the latest updates to the humanitarian planning process and to mainstream more recent concepts including climate risk, resilience and protection.

The 2018 Rapid Environmental Assessment includes new sections on disaster risk reduction, accountability to affected people and an updated section on gender, diversity and inclusion, and is presented in a new design.

Download the guidelines here.


The Rapid Environmental Assessment recognizes that identifying environmental issues into the early stages of a disaster response makes relief activities more effective, accountable, and lays a foundation for a speedy and sustainable recovery.

The REA process is divided into three steps: 1) collecting baseline information for environmental impact assessment, 2) analyzing information to identify priority issues and 3) reviewing relief activities in order to mitigate potential negative environmental impacts.

The REA tool is designed for use during the critical disaster response period until conditions have stabilized. Data and insights collected during the REA can be integrated into a longer-term environmental impact assessment, and used to inform humanitarian programming.

Case study/Download

The Rapid Environmental Assessment can be done by persons with no specific environmental background and relatively little background in disaster management.

The Rapid Environmental Assessment has been previously utilized in many response missions by the UN Environment/OCHA Joint Unit. See an example of the usage of the Rapid Environmental Assessment in Nepal here.

Download the tool here and learn more on EHA Connect, an information sharing platform by the UN Environment/OCHA Joint Unit.

to top
icon-close-alt icon-bookmark icons / login