Safegaurds: Lives depend on them

Humanitarian Engineering is not only about building the bridge or water treatment plant – the “humanitarian” part is all about providing positive social impacts from the development of infrastructure in places where it is most needed.

The delivery of what we call “development outcomes” is not magically achieved by simply “building the thing”. A lot more consideration must be given before, during, and after building to ensure positive social impacts are not cancelled out by negative impacts and unforeseen consequences.

Over the last 50 years of development assistance and humanitarian response, a range of development actors have learned from many projects that have gone wrong; safeguard frameworks have been developed that lead to the empowerment of affected communities as well as innovative engineering solutions.

Just Imagine….
You urgently need to build a bridge to reconnect flood affected communities, supplies and the road network, after a disaster. You have the equipment and the workers; it needs to be done immediately.
Working in a small island developing state, your construction crew pays no attention to the normal good environmental and social practice because.. this is an emergency! You want to help, fair enough, right?
So you start.
Week 1: Two workers are injured, one so severely that he ultimately loses his leg – the nearest aid post is 11 hours away by car and boat.
Week 3: Community members have blocked access to your construction equipment and appropriated some of your materials and they seem angry?
Week 4: first reports start coming in that people are getting sick.
Week 8: crops are dying in the gardens.
Week 12: parents can no longer afford school fees.
The bridge is built, you and your team depart. Your job is done, you did your part to “save” a community.
Next wet season: The bridge is washed away.

The Warren Centre’s Humanitarian Engineering Hub is proud to present a webinar on the 8 June 2022, hosting speakers who, while working on humanitarian and development projects, are protecting communities, workers, and the environment. When working to build infrastructure in less regulated environments, it is of critical importance to avoid unintended consequences, and to ensure lasting positive impacts. These are ensured through “Safeguards”.

A confirmation email will be sent to registered participants to provide webinar link.


  • David Wereh, Secretary, Department of Works Papua New Guinea
  • Ross Butler, Senior Social Specialist/Social Risk Coordinator, World Bank
  • Sam Sesega, Samoan based, Experienced Social & Environmental Practitioner
  • Tim Simpson, Assistant Director – Environment and Social Safeguards, Australian Infrastructure Finance Facility for the Pacific (AIFFP), DFAT


  • Jo Buldeski, Manager Advisory Services, Executive Committee Member, HEHub / Cardno International Development

Watch the Recorded Webinar

Event Details


Jun 08, 2022
8:00am - 9:30am