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Dealing with energy needs in humanitarian crisis response operations

A Quick Scan of policies and best practices of humanitarian aid organizations and potential alternative energy sources and technologies.

From experience it is known that the sustainability aspect of energy needs is often not sufficiently addressed by those who provide assistance in humanitarian crisis response operations in post-conflict and post-disaster situations. Despite the fact that UNHCR and other emergency aid organizations have included substantial elements of sustainable energy supply in their policies and plans, implementation is often late or insufficient. The resulting long term humanitarian and ecological effects can be dramatic. In addition, firewood collection poses security problems for women and children, who are forced to travel large distances at the risk of being attacked or raped. There are also significant negative health consequences: exposure to indoor smoke can cause acute respiratory infections which kill many people, especially women and children, also in refugee camps.

An advocacy and learning project has been set up on the issue of energy use ? with a focus on household fuel ? in humanitarian crisis response situations, as a cooperative undertaking by the Institute for Environmental Security and IUCN-Netherlands Committee. The goal of this project is to improve the policies and practices of (Dutch) humanitarian aid organisations on fuel-related issues, and to encourage policymakers in the Netherlands to put this issue higher on the agenda.

Publication website ( PDF - www.envirosecurity.org )

Author(s)Mark van Dorp
PublisherInstitute for Environmental Security
Place publishedThe Hague
Date / Journal Vol No.September 2009
Pages61
 

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