International work

UN Emergency Response: AGEE

Establishment of a Steering Committee for Environmental Emergencies
Ninth Meeting of the Advisory Group on Environmental Emergencies
Tropical Cyclone Nargis Myanmar - Rapid Environmental Assessment
16th – 21st May 2008 by Leif Jonsson, Swedish Rescue Services Agency
Network Ten CSA
Network Ten CSA


"Disasters and conflicts can impact the environment in ways that threaten human life, health, livelihoods and security. Disaster managers and humanitarian workers must therefore identify and address acute environmental risks quickly and consistently as an integral part of effective emergency response."

John Holmes,
Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator


Supporting communities through environmental disasters
Behind the scenes of major environmental emergencies, an inspiring global response team is bridging the humanitarian and remediation bridge.

UNEP and OCHA - the United Nations agencies tasked with environmental protection and humanitarian support - have established the international Advisory Group on Environmental Emergencies (AGEE) as their most important cooperation and support mechanism for the response to environmental disasters.


AGEE is an international forum that brings together environmental experts from around the world to share information, expertise and lessons learned for improved response to environmental emergencies worldwide and in particular in developing countries. AGEE meets every two years and the Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit (JEU) serves as the secretariat to this group.

Green Cross Australia's involvement

Green Cross Australia CEO Mara Bun recently represented Green Cross International as an NGO delegate to the The Advisory Group on Environmental Emergencies (AGEE) which brings together disaster managers and environmentalists from developed and developing countries to exchange ideas and experiences on global environmental emergency response issues.


Mara will continue to represent the global Green Cross network on the new Steering Committee set up by AGEE to advance this work.  We need to involve more national governments, funding bodies, NGOs and global media in this important effort.


In particular Asia Pacific is a focus point for capacity development of global response resources and Green Cross Australia looks forward to playing a role in building traction for emergency response cooperation.


Green Cross applauds the work of the amazing network of experts, donor agencies, national governments and passionate individuals involved in improving our ability to respond to global disasters to save lives and protect the environment.


Green Cross International, UNEP and OCHA launched the UN's first Green Awards for climate disaster response. The inaugural Green Star winners from Brazil, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden inspire us.

Environmental emergencies are "sudden-onset disasters or accidents resulting from natural, technological or human-induced factors, or a combination of these that cause or threaten to cause severe environmental damage as well as loss of human lives and property (UNEP/GC.22/INF/5, 13 November 2002). These events include industrial accidents, sudden on-set natural disasters, or environmental conflicts, and they are on the rise.

Around the world experts have documented an increase in both the total number of natural disasters and affected populations, and in the incidents of technological disasters.  The May 2009 AGEE meeting in Brussels was briefed by the Director of the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED), which houses the world's largest disasters database frequently referred to in IPCC research.  Similar trends are reported by The International Federation of the Red Cross World Disaster Reports.

The UN response
Over its 14-year existence, the JEU has mobilised and coordinated the response to a wide variety of environmental emergencies and natural disasters. An inspiring group of donor agencies, response experts, and national emergency response agencies have come together to work with the JEU to build our global response capability. For example, an immediate environmental risk assessment was performed following Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar facilitated by JEU - at a time when the Myanmar Military Government constrained overseas aid support.

At the 2009 AGEE meeting Green Cross helped to shape the direction of some excellent tools and resources that are helping to fight the battle to protect communities and the natural environment through major disasters.


Find out more about some Key AGEE Initiatives.

More information...

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