By: Julien Temple, UNICEF
UNICEF and the Veolia Environment Foundation work together on the frontline with the shared objective of bringing the necessary assistance to those in need of clean water and sanitation in time of emergency, however difficult the task may be…
One of the world leaders in environmental services, the Veolia Environment Group, is engaged in humanitarian and development actions through the Veolia Environment Foundation which shares its technical expertise with humanitarian workers by means of Veoliaforce, a 12-year volunteer network of specialized employees in the fields of water, waste water, waste management, energy and public transportation.
After many years of collaboration, the partnership between UNICEF and the Veolia Environment Foundation was formalized in 2008 as a ‘Standby Agreement’. Volunteers from the Foundation mobilize in the event of a humanitarian crisis and offer their expertise to UNICEF according to the need. The Veolia Foundation supplies adequate human resources and equipment for affected communities in order to safeguard the water supply and sanitation to prevent the outbreak of epidemics. In conjunction with emergency response operations, the volunteers also assist UNICEF staff in international development projects.
In the field
Many humanitarian and development projects are conducted together in different countries. In early 2009, a team from the Veolia Foundation conducted an assessment of the urban water system and waste management in 4 cities affected by cholera in Zimbabwe. This assessment helped UNICEF, its partners and donors to identify critical immediate actions needed to improve access to safe water and waste disposal, which has been crucial to reduce the risk of a further spread of cholera in Zimbabwe and neighboring countries.
The Veolia Foundation also supports UNICEF’s response in the aftermath of natural disasters. In 2008, clean water supplies were provided after the Sichuan earthquake in China and, following the damage caused by cyclone Ondoy in the Philippines in 2009, the Veolia Foundation provided UNICEF and its local partners with expertise in solid waste management.
In addition, the Veolia Foundation engages its resources in education development projects such as in Morocco in 2007 and more recently in Moldova by rehabilitating water supplies and sanitation as well as energy supplies in schools.
For more information, please contact Julien Temple, Office of Emergency Programs, UNICEF.