Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA)
/United Nations Environment Programme
(UNEP) [formerly Department of Humanitarian Affairs (DHA)]
The joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit was established within the Office
for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to enhance the international
capacity to respond to environmental emergencies, such as industrial accidents,
chemical and oil spills, forest fires, technological impacts of natural
events, and environmental impacts of complex emergencies.
AGENDA 21 CHAPTERS AND PROGRAMME AREAS OF PARTICULAR FOCUS OR INTEREST:
See check list in annex.
BRIEF DESCRIPTIONS OF AND LINKS TO INFORMATION ACTIVITIES:
Collection, Observation, Monitoring
Data collection methods
Field surveys, questionnaires, both directly and from other UN
Organizations, National Focal Points, NGOs, Private sources. Data gathered
is on health risks from pollution/hazards; human settlements in disaster-prone
Data collection coordination is with OCHA and relevant UNEP units.
Methodologies, Quality Control, Harmonization
Toxic chemicals (Ch. 19), Human settlements (Ch. 7F especially
para. 7.57), Institutions (Ch. 38 para 38.22n)
Cooperation with UNEP/OCHA integrated Environment Unit plus focal points
with relevant UN bodies.
Techniques used are field surveys, expert meetings, consultancy
Expert Systems/Decision-support systems
Humanitarian Early Warning System.
Dissemination is through
reports to National Focal Points and the interested public. Coordination
of dissemination is through liaison, and uses consultancy contracts
to create specialist databases e.g. TNO. Contracts were useful in highlighting
paucity of information. The existing information was promoted
by use of occasional papers, articles in relevant magazines and journals.
Meta-inventory on hazardous
materials and toxic chemicals exists.
There is provision of consultancy reports to full National Focal Points
network of decision-makers.
Network Development and Support
Manage a network of National Focal Points (57 as of 26.7.94), and interact
with UNIENET - United Nations International Emergency Network.
a. Decision-makers use of information
For decision-makers, UN-OCHA is trying to improve the effectiveness
of accident reporting and information dissemination.
Training in data collection, assessment and information in collaboration
with OECD Working Group on Industrial Accidents to define reporting
Attempts to improve accident reporting and dissemination through OECD
Working Group to plug data gaps.
Office/Person (for inquiries or follow-up):
Mr Vladimir Sakharov
Earthwatch focal point
UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit
Palais des Nations
1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Tel: +41 22 917 11 42
Fax: +41 22 917 0023
August 1994, updated October 1998