Humanitarian Networks and Partnerships Weeks
HNPW 2024 (29 April - 10 May 2024)

Session title: Ensuring full lifecycle accountability for humanitarian waste through sustainable procurement
17 Apr 23 15:00-16:00

A healthy environment is inherently linked to the safety, security and well-being of refugees, internally displaced persons, host communities and societies. In the last decade, UN agencies, INGOs and NGOs have started to mainstream environmental sustainability into their strategies, projects and programs, and operations; all in line with the environment-related commitments of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

When responding to emergencies, humanitarian organizations bring in resources to provide lifesaving assistance.  But with this often comes bulk waste.  This an cause negative health and environmental impacts particularly when there is limited infrastructure, regulatory controls or waste subsidies to incentivize safe e-waste management which is often the case in displacement settings. This negates the humanitarian principle of Do No Harm.

Sustainable procurement will take into account selecting the right products, and also service aspects (e.g. repair, recycling) to minimise waste, extend the lifecycle of products, and to reduce any final downstream effects of waste disposal from any product to be procured. In summary, the partnership recognises that greening humanitarian responses start at both technical selections of items as well as procurement decisions including service contracts.

Our approach to sustainable procurement and the concept of the new pilot on Closing the Loop on Effective Waste Management in Displacement Settings will be presented during the session, with feedback sought from the audience on their organization`s role and responsibility for managing waste.

Expected outcomes

  1. Increased understanding of issues with current waste management services in displacement settings, with no enabling environment to support the creation of a circular economy for waste.
  2. Increased understanding of importance of sustainable procurement (including products and services) in contributing to greening humanitarian response,
  3. Opening the discussion to donors and manufacturers (as well as INGOs, UN agencies and NGOs) and the role they can play in greening humanitarian response,
  4. Increased understanding of how localization can be considered and enabled to add value in sustainable procurement,
  5. Increased awareness of Innovation Norway-funded pilot project on Closing the Loop on Effective Waste Management in Displacement settings.



Who is responsible for waste? An overview of challenges and impacts.

Why sustainable procurement? Building the case for change.

Presentation on opportunities for localization and sustainable procurement through service delivery with product purchases to be piloted through the Innovation Norway funded Closing the Loop on Effective Waste Management Project.

Open floor discussion with audience on the next steps required to systematically green our humanitarian responses on a sector-wide scale.


Claire Barnhoorn - Solvoz

Gemma Arthurson - International Organization for Migration

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