Environmental Stewardship Tool (EST)

WHY use the EST

The impact of program activities on the climate and the built and natural environment may be unnoticeable at first but could have long term impacts if not closely analyzed at the beginning. The Environmental Stewardship Tool (EST) was developed to strengthen partner’s and CIMO’s (Caritas Internacionalis Member Organizations) environmental stewardship in program activities and compliments other environmental impact assessment tools.

The tool was developed to help teams screen for environmental risks as they design programs and activities, ensuring we not only do no harm, but also support environmental outcomes, restoration, and regeneration efforts. The main objective of the EST is to ensure that the preservation of natural resources (such as forests, wild animals, water, soil etc.) is done in a sustainable manner alongside all activities involving the natural and built environment (such as shelter and infrastructure construction). It also includes guidance on how to reduce potentially negative environmental and climate impacts from how we do our work, by considering the impact of our operations.

WHAT is the EST designed to do?

The Environmental Stewardship Tool (EST) is intended to enhance program quality and improve the accountability of humanitarian and development programs (namely in Food Security & Livelihoods, DRR, Markets & Cash and Voucher Assistance, Shelter & Settlements and WASH sectors) to improve, rather than degrade the natural environment. The tool allows for the rapid identification and registering the risk level of key environmental issues which could be experienced by natural and manmade systems as a result of activities.

For the purposes of this tool, Environmental Risk is defined as the actual or potential threat of adverse effects on living organisms and the natural environment arising out of planned activities. Tier 1 of the EST provides a series of statements to consider when designing a program. Tier 2 supports teams to rank the level of risk each action may have on the environment and the individuals and communities living in those program areas. Tier 3 helps mitigate risks by prompting the design team to reflect on measures that are environmentally responsible and regenerative, with sector specific guidance provided in the accompanying tabs. Thematic support tabs include:

  • Eco-DRR
  • Food Security & Livelihoods and Climate Change Adaptation
  • Shelter & Settlements
  • WASH
  • Markets and Cash & Voucher Assistance
  • Operations
  • Safe and Dignified programming

WHEN is the EST used?

The tool should be used during the program design phase and prior to implementation to inform stakeholders of both the risks associated with the potentially negative environmental impact, along with the benefits of activities which could restore or regenerate the natural environment. The tool can also be used during project implementation as part of a continuous improvement towards program quality and for monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning purposes.

WHO uses the EST?

Project managers, coordinators, field officers, funding officers and technical staff from CIMOs and partner organizations working on projects that interface with the natural environment. This should be completed by the program design team and include those who have knowledge of the local context. The program design team may consist of, but is not limited to, agency/partner staff, along with government representatives, community members, or anyone else involved in the design/implementation of the program.

EST Tools

1) Video Tutorial        
2) Brief Introduction to the EST        
English Français  Español Arabic
3) EST Excel Tool:         
English Français  Español Arabic
4) PowerPoint:         
English Français  Español Arabic
5) EST Training Support Sheet with example risk statements:      
English Français  Español Arabic
6) EST in Communities:        
English Français  Español Arabic
7) EST Practice Scenarios:         
English Français  Español Arabic

For additional support please contact the DRR/R Team at [email protected]