UNEP/OCHA Joint Environment Unit
Technical Management and Development

Project Background

The Nexus Environmental Assessment Tool (NEAT+) serves as a swift and straightforward environmental screening instrument at the project level, facilitating humanitarian entities in promptly identifying environmental concerns before formulating extensive emergency or recovery strategies. Developed under the Coordination of Assessments for Environment in Humanitarian Action Joint Initiative, a collaborative endeavor involving various stakeholders such as USAID, UNHCR, NRC, IUCN, WWF, and other collaborators, NEAT+ aims to enhance coordination among environmental and humanitarian bodies. Its ongoing maintenance and enhancement are overseen by the UNEP/OCHA Joint Environment Unit.

Tailored to meet the exigencies of humanitarian practitioners, NEAT+ offers an innovative and pragmatic approach to integrating sustainable environmental practices into humanitarian assistance. The Rural NEAT+ is accessible through Excel and KoBo Toolbox, whereas the Urban NEAT+ is accessible via a web-based application. There are intentions to consolidate Rural and Urban NEAT+ into a unified application for both online and offline utilization.

The UNEP/OCHA Joint Environment Unit worked with DFS to launch the Nexus Environmental Assessment Tool (NEAT+). NEAT+ combines contextual environmental information with site-specific data while categorizing environmental issues into low, medium, and high levels of concern.

What We Do

Data Friendly Space (DFS) collaborated with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and diverse stakeholders in the development of NEAT+ (New Environment Assessment Tool Plus). Our involvement spans across various crucial aspects of the project, where we provide invaluable project management support, ensuring efficient coordination and alignment of efforts. Additionally, DFS contributes its technical expertise to drive the development of NEAT+, leveraging innovative solutions to enhance its functionality and usability. DFS provided design and technical support for developing the web application, its data infrastructure, and data security, ensuring that NEAT+ is robust, reliable, and secure. Through our collaborative endeavors, we aim to empower stakeholders with a state-of-the-art tool for environmental assessment and management, facilitating informed decision-making processes.

How We Do It

Collaborative Approach with Key Stakeholders

We prioritised high collaboration with all key stakeholders throughout the development and refinement process of NEAT+. By engaging closely with humanitarian actors, environmental experts, and community representatives, we ensured that NEAT+ meets the diverse needs and requirements of its users.

Rural NEAT+ (R-NEAT+): Tailored for Camp and Rural Settings

To address the specific challenges of informal/formal camp settings or rural non-camp environments, we initially designed Rural NEAT+ (R-NEAT+). This version utilises Kobo Toolbox and Excel for data collection and analysis, offering a user-friendly solution for assessing environmental concerns in these contexts.

Continuous Improvement and Adaptation

DFS remains committed to ongoing enhancements and adaptations based on feedback from stakeholders. In response to input from various partners, we have developed an urban adaptation of NEAT+ (U-NEAT+) on a lighter, cloud-based platform. This iteration aims to streamline the assessment process further and address the unique challenges of urban humanitarian contexts.

Empowering Stakeholders through Updates and Feedback

By providing significant updates and adaptations to NEAT+, such as the development of U-NEAT+, DFS empowers stakeholders with tools that evolve to meet changing needs and emerging challenges. We actively solicit feedback from users and incorporate it into our development roadmap, ensuring that NEAT+ remains relevant, effective, and user-centric.


The rapid and user-friendly project-level environmental screening tool presented here represents a significant milestone in humanitarian efforts, enabling quick identification of environmental issues prior to the formulation of longer-term emergency or recovery interventions. Tailored to meet the specific needs of humanitarian actors, this tool offers a pragmatic and innovative approach to integrating sustainable environmental practices into humanitarian aid operations. Its widespread adoption within the humanitarian field underscores its value and relevance, supported by the endorsement of the Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) and its inclusion as a mandatory component in the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) requirements for sustainable humanitarian response. By facilitating the early detection of environmental concerns and promoting the implementation of sustainable practices, this tool not only enhances the effectiveness of humanitarian interventions but also contributes to the protection of ecosystems and the well-being of affected communities. Its impact extends beyond immediate relief efforts, laying the groundwork for a more environmentally conscious and resilient approach to humanitarian action, thereby fostering a positive and lasting impact on both the environment and the communities it serves.