Mission Report

Colombia – NEAT+ Environmental Scoping Report and Recommendations, November 2019

This report presents the results of an environmental scoping mission using the Nexus Environmental Assessment Tool (NEAT+) by the UNEP / OCHA Joint Environment Unit (JEU) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to the Integrated Assistance Centre (Centro de Atención Integral, or CAI) in Maicao, northeastern Colombia.


The purpose of the mission was to highlight key areas of environmental risk in UNHCR’s programming in the CAI and neighbouring Chichituy host community while applying and promoting the Nexus Environmental Assessment Tool (NEAT+).  The mission took place from 4 to 13 November 2019 and was financially supported by UNHCR, UNEP and OCHA.

Key findings and recommendations cover programmatic, strategic and external advocacy relevant recommendations. These encompass the need to increase and prioritize environmental education (waste management and lack of social cohesion), switching to green energy solutions, reducing disaster risk from flooding and soil erosion (through drainage systems as well as nature-based solutions), and enhancing the current community engagement and accountability mechanisms in place to promote social cohesion.

Environmental Scoping in Colombia

Over the past years, the population of Maicao has increased from 160,000 to approximately 220,000, and about 27 per cent of the city’s population is now Venezuelan. The purpose of the mission was to highlight key areas of environmental risk in UNHCR’s programming, and to apply and promote the Nexus Environmental Assessment Tool (NEAT+).

The NEAT+ field test took place in UNHCR Reception Centre “CAI” near the city of Maicao, La Guajira Department, and neighbouring communities.  Separate environmental sensitivity assessments were completed by a group of UNHCR and partner technical staff in the CAI, including a government representative. WASH and Shelter UNHCR technical experts completed the activity modules, finding that most submodules were relevant to the activities of the CAI. The food security and livelihoods (FSL) module was filled in by Acción Contra el Hambre (ACH) as the lead partner for FSL with the host community. This was the first time that the NEAT+ was used in a reception camp setting and on such a small scale, and the results proved accurate.

The findings and recommendations of this report are based on a combination of a field test of the NEAT+, four focus group discussions (FGDs) including participatory mapping with CAI residents, host community and technical staff groups; and a secondary data review. Tailored recommendations are provided both for mitigating environmental risks at the CAI, and more broadly on a national and global level for promotion and expansion of the NEAT+.


Download the full report here.



To learn more about NEAT+ please visit

To find out how it can support your organization’s planning, contact the UNEP/OCHA Joint Environment Unit (

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