Disaster waste is a well-recognized threat to health, safety and the environment, and can
also be a major impediment to post-disaster rescue operations.
Experience shows that disaster waste is often managed in an ad hoc manner, however,
and that substantial improvements can be made in future response efforts.
These guidelines, developed collaboratively by the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency –
or MSB for short – and the Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit, aim to do just that. They
represent much of the best current knowledge and lessons learned on disaster waste
management, and provide national authorities and international relief experts alike with
sound and practical advice to help them manage disaster waste. They were developed
following a request by governments at the international Advisory Group on Environment
Emergencies, and are based on extensive consultations with national and international
These guidelines are an important start to improving the management of disaster waste.
They must be complemented by efforts to ensure their uptake and regular use through
a range of disaster management mechanisms.