The speakers spoke about the importance of environmental assessments as part of any settlement strategy. They noted that any building programme, or indeed any change of land use, will impact the environment, and a typical environmental assessment can take many years. The Rapid Environmental Assessment (REA) toolkit proposed and presented offered an alternative that could be used to assess the likely damage in just two to three days.
Furthermore, the speakers pointed out that many emergency planners were not considering the environment, and that environmental damage often became apparent only after the planners had left. Environment specialists were usually consulted only after programmes were being implemented, which was too late.