In its work on disasters and conflicts, which aims to minimize threats to human well-being from environmental degradation, UNEP focuses on achieving results in two areas:

Improving countries’ ability to use environmental management to prevent and reduce the risks of natural hazards, industrial disasters and conflict.


Supporting countries in the aftermath of a disaster or conflict to identify and address environmental risks that could have serious social and economic impacts.



Risk reduction

Over the last two years, UNEP supported 28 countries to reduce the risks of natural disasters, industrial accidents and conflicts.

At the global level, a key measure of success is how well UNEP can integrate ecosystem-based solutions for disaster risk reduction (DRR) and peacebuilding into the wider UN’s guidelines, policies and programmes. Ten significant UN policies, guidelines and programmes now reflect best practice in sustainable natural resource management, bringing the total number to 23. This exceeds the target of 20 for the end of 2015. UNEP is now also directly reaching the next generation of policymakers through online training on DRR. See In Focus Page

28 countries

supported to reduce the risks of natural disasters, industrial accidents and conflicts.

Highlights of UNEP support on risk reduction


UNEP conducted an assessment of major risks posed by hazardous ammonia storage in an industrial site. The containers were safely removed and neutralized.

Peru, Thailand

Emergency preparedness was improved through regional (Asia-Pacific and Latin America) training of trainers in the Awareness and Preparedness for Emergencies at Local Level (APELL) methodology.


Environmental emergency preparedness training; support to dam safety; training and support in the safe management of debris and asbestos waste; training in ecosystem approaches to Disaster Risk Reduction (eco-DRR).

UNEP policy influence on crisis reduction

Who we influenced

Member states, the humanitarian and development communities Open/Close

What we influenced
The Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR)

What we did
UNEP worked to ensure the environment was included as a key factor in disaster risk and taken into account as a solution.

Why it’s important
The Sendai Framework sets the goals for disaster risk reduction policies for the next 15 years.

The UN, World Bank and EU Open/Close

What we influenced
Post Disaster Needs Assessments (PDNA)

What we did
UNEP led the environmental section of the development of the PDNA guidelines, including a guideline on environmental issues.

Why it’s important
The PDNA is the principal framework used by the UN, the World Bank and the EU to gauge post-disaster needs. The inclusion of the environment should ensure more sustainable spending of billions of dollars of post-disaster assistance.

The High Level Independent Panel on UN Peace Operations Open/Close

What we influenced
Uniting our Strengths for Peace report

What we did
UNEP provided input on the environmental impacts of peacekeeping operations and the potential of green technology.

Why it’s important
This high-level review will shape the future of UN peace operations.

Response and recovery

UNEP responds to acute environmental emergencies as part of humanitarian response teams. It also conducts post-crisis assessments of environmental damage and recovery needs, and provides guidance to those involved in recovery. UNEP responded to crises and supported recovery in 22 countries over the last two years – ten of which were acute environmental emergencies. UNEP has carried out post-crisis or rapid environmental assessments in 29 countries since 2010. Between 2010 and 2014, in 88% of the assessments where UNEP identified serious risks, national governments or the UN took action to reduce those risks.

While UNEP provides environmental assessments immediately after a crisis on request from the country or UN system, the organization also provides long-term support to countries that require more-sustained environmental assistance for recovery, which has meant longer-term support in Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Haiti, South Sudan and Sudan.

Between 2010-2014 in 88%

of the assesments where UNEP identified serious risks, actions was taken* to reduce those risks.
*By national governments or the UN.

Highlights of UNEP emergency response to crisis situations


Serbia Open/Close

UNEP support
Assessment of flood-related risks of chemical leaks and landslides

Follow-up activities have been conducted by the Serbian government to implement the recommendations from the assessment. Post-flood planning has been integrated into a regional climate change adaptation project for South East Europe.

Solomon Islands Open/Close

UNEP support
Assessment of flood-weakened gold mining tailings dam

The government is using UNEP’s assessment to pursue a claim against the previous mine owner. Plans and the equipment to lower the level of water are now in place.

Ukraine Open/Close

UNEP support
Recovery and post-conflict needs assessment as part of the UN team with the EC and the World Bank

The assessment informed the development of the Donbas Recovery Programme, which was the basis for €1.4 billion in loans.

Highlights of long-term support


430 households and business have been provided with clean and reliable electricity as part of a project aiming to provide 1,600 households with electricity by 2016.

1600 households
Electricity by 2016


Four major projects linked ecosystem-based disaster reduction with climate action to deliver capacity building to seven government departments, and support 35 local communities in projects for watershed management across four provinces.

35 local communities
Watershed management


More than 10,000 people from 20 villages benefited from the first successful harvest in the area of the Seil Gideim water-spreading dam, North Darfur.

10,000 people
Harvest crops

For more information on UNEP's work on Disasters and Conflicts, please visit our Disasters and Conflicts page or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

For more details on performance indicators and finances, please download UNEP's Programme Performance Report for 2014-2015