Although disasters wreak havoc, the rebuilding efforts that follow represent a significant and important opportunity to restore communities in a more environmentally and socially sustainable way. Humanitarians, conservation practitioners, government officials, local communities, and donor organizations can take steps to ensure reconstructed communities are built back safer through actively addressing environmental sustainability, reducing risk and vulnerability to future disasters, and adapting to the realities of our changing climate.
The Green Recovery and Reconstruction Toolkit (GRRT) is a training program designed to increase awareness and knowledge of environmentally sustainable disaster response approaches. The GRRT is made of ten modules which are designed to be delivered in a one-day training workshop. Each GRRT module package includes a trainer’s guide; training materials for a workshop; PowerPoint slides; a technical content paper that provides background information for the training; and additional resources for further study. The ten training modules are described in detail below and may be downloaded here.
Soon after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the American Red Cross and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) formed an innovative, five-year partnership to help ensure that the recovery efforts of the American Red Cross did not have unintended negative effects on the environment. Combining the environmental expertise of WWF with the humanitarian aid expertise of the American Red Cross, the partnership has worked across the tsunami-affected region to make sure that the recovery programs include environmentally sustainable considerations, which are critical to ensuring a long-lasting recovery for communities.
The Green Recovery and Reconstruction Toolkit has been informed by our experiences in this partnership as well as over 30 international authors and experts who have contributed to its content. Participating organizations include International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Oxfam, World Vision, RedR, United Nations Environment Programme, International Union for Conservation of Nature, CARE, Danish Refugee Counciil, U.S. Agency for International Development, Save the Children, Sphere, and Tearfund among others.
The GRRT was originally pilot tested in Indonesia and Sri Lanka, and has since be used in Chile, Haiti, India, and Pakistan.
GRRT Module Summaries
Module 1: Opportunities after Disasters: Introduction to Green Recovery and Reconstruction
A brief introduction to the concept of green recovery and reconstruction, Module 1 discusses why addressing environmental concerns in a humanitarian response is critical to a successful recovery process. The module also provides an overview of the tools, techniques and methodologies fundamental to building stronger, more resilient communities by integrating environmental issues into the disaster recovery process.
Module 2: Project Design, Monitoring and Evaluation
Module 2 provides guidance on how project design, monitoring, and evaluation can better incorporate and address environmental issues within the typical project cycle of a post-disaster humanitarian aid project. This includes the development and analysis of project designs that incorporate sustainable environmental factors, the selection of appropriate indicators and targets to measure and monitor environmental impact, and practical guidance on how to monitor and evaluate environmental impact.
Module 3: Environmental Impact Assessment Tools and Techniques
Module 3 builds upon Module 2, focusing specifically on assessment tools that can be used to determine the environmental impact of humanitarian projects regardless of project type or sector. This module explains the value of conducting Environmental Impact Assessments, and answers the questions how, when and why an assessment should be conducted. A case study using the Environmental Stewardship Review for Humanitarian Aid (ESR) is presented.
Module 4: Green Guide to Strategic Site Selection and Development
Strategic site selection and development are essential components to ensuring construction projects do not put people recovering from disasters at future risk. This module describes the principles of strategic, environmentally sustainable site selection and development for post-disaster humanitarian aid projects. It presents a detailed set of guidelines and checklists as well as a post-disaster recovery timeline with strategic action points for ensuring that the long-term health and security of people and communities recovering from disaster have been factored into site selection and development.
Module 5: Green Guide to Materials and the Supply Chain
Module 5 is concerned with construction materials and procurement. This module describes how to use fewer materials, how to use local sources of materials in a sustainable way, and the use of disaster debris and recycled items as building material. Through the use of relevant case studies, informative figures and strategies for procuring sustainable materials, Module 5 also explains the importance of material procurement policies and practices that help protect natural resources and people in the long term.
Module 6: Green Guide to Construction
This module emphasizes key concepts of sustainable design including climate, energy efficiency, and the life cycle of materials. The module also addressees principles of environmentally sustainable construction, including construction site planning and layout, materials and equipment handling, waste handling and pollution prevention to minimize the impact of the construction process on people and communities recovering from disaster.
Module 7: Green Guide to Water and Sanitation
Module 7 addresses innovative water and sanitation programs that can make communities more resilient to future disasters and reduce long-term impacts on ecosystems. The module explores approaches to community participation and watershed management. Technology choices such as treatment wetlands, household water treatment technologies, wastewater management, and solid waste management are offered as practical strategies and techniques to make water and sanitation interventions more environmentally sustainable.
Module 8: Green Guide to Livelihoods
The Green Guide to Livelihoods explores the links between livelihoods, disaster vulnerability, and ecosystems and targets environmental issues related to the implementation of post-disaster livelihoods recovery projects in several sectors including agriculture, aquaculture, fisheries, and tourism, among others. The module discusses how natural resource management techniques, such as assessing and mitigating the environmental impacts of livelihood projects using better management practices, can be used to reduce impacts and improve livelihood outcomes for communities in post-disaster recovery settings.
Module 9: Green Guide to Disaster Risk Reduction
Environmental issues are inextricably linked to disaster risk reduction and disaster management. Module 9 places a particular emphasis on identifying environmental aspects contributing to risk and the role that the sustainable use of environmental resources, or ecosystems, have in reducing disaster risk. In utilizing the Green Guide to Disaster Risk Reduction, disaster risk reduction specialists can increase their awareness of appropriate and useful integration of environmental considerations into risk assessment and risk reduction. The module explains concepts of ecosystem based risk reduction, costs and benefits of addressing environmental sustainability and assimilating the environment into DRR assessments.
Module 10: Greening Organizational Operations
In the process of securing the protection and conservation of natural resources and ecosystems in the field, it can be easy to forget about how day-to-day organizational operations can impact the environment. Module 10: Greening Organizational Operations offers a comprehensive approach to improving the environmental performance of an organization’s operational aspects, including office administration, logistics, and vehicle management.