2023 Environment and Emergencies Forum (EEF)

The Environment and Emergencies Forum (EEF) is an inclusive global forum focused on the interface between the environment and humanitarian emergency response. It brings together stakeholders from around the world to showcase progress in environmental emergency preparedness and response and highlights current efforts and existing challenges as well as opportunities in integrating environmental risk in humanitarian action. The Forum offers environment, humanitarian aid and disaster management practitioners a unique opportunity to discuss global policy, share experiences and knowledge, forge new partnerships, and agree on key actions to make sure that our common response to emergencies is more efficient, local and sustainable.

The Forum has been organized every two years since 1995, as requested by Member States through a 1993 UN Environment Programme (UN Environment) Governing Council Decision.  Unfortunately, the 2021 Forum was cancelled due to COVID-19. In 2019, it was held as a strategic retreat to inform the stakeholders of the 5-year strategy. The 2017 EEF was held at the UN Gigiri compound in Nairobi, Kenya.

The 2023 Environment and Emergencies Forum was hosted by the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG – ECHO) and co-organized by the UNEP/OCHA Joint Environment Unit (JEU), the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and the Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection on behalf of the Strategic Advisory Group on Environmental Emergencies (SAGEE). The event took place from 22 (12 PM) to 23 (12:30 PM) March 2023 in Brussels, Belgium, and it explored the nexus of environmental risk, disasters, humanitarian crisis and other trends. It provided a platform for taking action to strengthen environmental resilience through an increased focus on the readiness of member states, regional and national organizations, civil society, and academia, to respond to the environmental dimensions of emergencies. 

Access the 2023 EEF outcomes document.

Objectives and Outcomes of the 2023 EEF


  1. Enhance current and generate further partnerships for a strengthened environmental emergency preparedness and response; 
  2. Promote commitment and actions to further integrate the environment in humanitarian action;  
  3. Serve as a platform for discussion and exchange of lessons-learned, ideas and best practices, and showcase the breadth of on-going initiatives in this area. 

Expected Outcomes  

  1. Identified concrete actions to develop national and regional capacities to address environmental emergencies and to integrate environment in humanitarian action; 
  2. Increased partnerships with Member States and Regional Organizations across the different global regions; 
  3. Enhanced awareness among participants, international stakeholders and the global community of the risks, challenges and priority actions associated with environmental emergencies in a fast-changing world

Access the 2023 EEF outcomes document.

Themes and Topics of the 2023 EEF

THEME 1: Readiness for response 

Environmental emergencies can arise as result of “natural” disasters, conflicts, or industrial/technological events. Hence, it is very important to ensure a quick, efficient, and appropriate response. Anticipating risks is essential to define the needs, and to design and implement effective preparedness actions and response operations. All humanitarian action therefore needs to be informed by risk assessment and analysis, which includes climate and environmental risks, and should consistently complement a needs-based approach. This theme will explore ways to enhance environmental emergency response readiness by examining best practices and innovative ideas. For this purpose, the Forum will focus on the following topics: 

THEME 2: Response and recovery  

The environmental impact of disasters and complex emergencies is often significant. Therefore, one of the key elements of emergency response is rapid identification and mitigation of environmental risks. Countries facing environmental emergencies often require technical and technological support to respond effectively, minimize adverse impacts, and recover rapidly. It is, therefore, crucial to provide immediate response assistance to maintain lives, preserve ecosystems and ensure a proper transition to early recovery. This theme will explore ways to strengthen response and recovery to environmental emergencies by scrutinizing lessons learned, best practices and innovative ideas. To this end, the following topics will be elaborated under this theme: 

THEME 3: Environment in Humanitarian Action (EHA) 

Minimizing environmental harm during a humanitarian crisis is crucial and contributes to the main purpose of humanitarian action, which is: saving lives and preserving and restoring people’s livelihood. Systematic consideration of the environment throughout response operations allows more effective recovery, contributes to sustainable development and lays the foundation for peacebuilding and conflict resolution. It will also mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change and support building resilience in communities and ecosystems. The following topics further elaborate the importance of environmental consideration during a humanitarian crisis, with concrete examples and sharing of knowledge.  

THEME 4: Environment in protracted conflict settings 

Protracted conflicts are major drivers of current humanitarian needs, which often lead to environmental degradation with a long-lasting effect contributing to population and ecosystems vulnerability. In conflict settings, natural resources can be used as weapons of war, suffer as collateral damage, or exploited/overexploited as source of livelihood for affected populations. The linkages between conflict and environment are very complex and yet understudied. This panel session will provide concrete examples on how environment is impacted by or contributes to conflicts.


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