Environmental Risk Management and Compliance

Speeches Shim

Saving Lives While Protecting the Environment


CRS Food Assistance Program in Madagascar
USAID/CRS Madagascar

Environmental risk management in USAID Food Assistance programs is a key factor for promoting progress towards household food and nutrition security (Food Assistance and Food Security Strategy 2016-2025). Nearly 13 million people die each year from environmentally related diseases that are largely preventable. The systematic implementation of environmental safeguards helps reduce drivers of food insecurity related to degraded natural resources, poor environmental health and hygiene, as well as risks from to weather and geological hazards. Interventions to ensure adequate and safe drinking water and sanitation; promote health and safety at work; ensure household-level air quality; and prevent exposure to hazardous chemicals and waste can significantly reduce disease burden. The greatest number of lives saved are primarily among women and children.

To uphold USAID environmental policies and regulation, the environmental impact assessment methodology is incorporated into program design and implementation across USAID Food Assistance programs globally. This methodology supports household and community risk management and adaptive capacity, as well as an investment in resilient and sustainable livelihoods.

Top 5 Goals of Environmental Safeguarding

  1. Do no harm to local natural resources including land, air, water and biodiversity.
  2. Improve resilience to weather and geological shocks and hazards.
  3. Improve household environmental health and hygiene.
  4. Promote safer use of pesticides for commodities, agriculture and health.
  5. Rehabilitate losses to livelihoods due to environmental degradation.

USAID Environmental Policies and Regulation

The goals of environmental safeguards and risk reduction are pursued through compliance with USAID environmental policies and regulation. The USG Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, Section 117, requires impacts of USAID’s activities on the environment to be assessed and environmental sustainability included as a central consideration in design and implementation. Further elaboration is found in Federal Regulation 22 CFR 216, and USAID policy (ADS 204 and ADS 201mal for Climate Risk Management). 

USAID Research in Environmental Risk Management

In 2020, USAID completed the inter-institutional study with international collaborators: “Sustainability in Humanitarian Supply Chains: A Preliminary Scoping of Improvements in Packaging Waste Management”. While humanitarian assistance provides life-saving goods around the world, unmanaged packaging waste from these commodities pollutes the environment locally and in the oceans. The intent of this study is to scope the problem as broadly as possible and find out what partners are doing to mitigate waste. The next Assessment phase is to jointly investigate common packaging waste issues with our international partners and begin to pilot solutions together. See the BHA Fact Sheet: Joint Initiative On Sustainable Humanitarian Packaging Waste Management to learn more.