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Role of NGO’s in Environmental Conservation and Development


                                                        - Sundar Vadaon


At the beginning of the 21st century environmental issues have emerged as a major concern for the welfare of people. In India, the concept of environment protection can be seen starting from the period of Vedas. As per Rigveda


O mother earth let thy bosom be free from sickness and decay

May we through   long life

Be   active and vigilant

And serve thee with




Moreover, father of Nation, Mahatma Gandhi also focused his work on environment along with freedom movement, equality and social justice. As per Father of the Nation


“the earth provides enough

     to satisfy every man’s need, 

     but not for every man’s greed”.                                               

                                                -Mahatma Gandhi  


Late Prime Minister Nehru and Mrs. Gandhi relentlessly campaigned for protection, conservation and development of the environment. They brought in several legislations and policies concerning environment.

Sundarlal Bhauguna through Chipko movement campaigned for protection of environment. Annahazare campaigned for rain water harvesting. Arundati Roy and Medha Patkar campaigned against major dams.


Bill Clinton is a major Brand Ambassador against Aids. Bill Gates and Melinda Gates are major donors for social development in the world. Diana campaigned against Land mines.


The wonderful team of P.V. Narasihma Rao, Manmohan Singh, Chidambaram, Ahluwalia, Mrs. Sonia Gandhi as well as Vajpayee and Yashwanth Sinha campaigned for reforms, economic development and environment protection.

The past few years have witnessed a sweeping change in the attitudes, approaches and policies of the United Nations system with regard to relations with NGOs and their participation in the work of the UN. While this has been most visible in the recent series of UN world summits and conferences[i], measures to strengthen cooperation with NGOs are being taken across the entire UN system and in virtually all areas of its activity: policy research and analysis; policy dialogue and normative work; monitoring and advocacy; operational development activities; humanitarian work, particularly responding to emergencies and to the needs of refugees; promoting human rights, democratization, disarmament and peace; and information dissemination and raising public awareness of the issues and challenges on the UN's agenda.

Today, in the context of UN reform, virtually all UN system departments, agencies, programmes and funds are engaged in fundamental reviews of their relations with organizations of civil society. In some cases, the functions of NGO liaison offices are being recast from public relations and information to a role more integrated with the substantive programme of the agency concerned. Guidelines for working with NGOs are being developed or updated, and more enabling and pro-active approaches to cooperating with local and regional NGOs are being developed for the UN system's regional and country offices. Many UN agencies and bodies now hold periodic consultations with NGOs on substantive issues, policy questions and programme strategies.

Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)

ECOSOC[ii] is a structure of coordination with 54 Member States, with focus on the economic and social work of the United Nations system. It administers nine functional commissions, five regional commissions and five standing committees, as well as relations with NGOs. ECOSOC’s functional commissions are on crime prevention and criminal justice, human rights, narcotic drugs, social development, science and technology for development, sustainable development, the status of women, population and development, and statistics.

A range of the UN’s economic and social programmes, funds and agencies report to ECOSOC including the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD); UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF); UN Development Programme (UNDP); UN Population Fund (UNFPA); the World Food Programme (WFP); and specialized agencies such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO); World Health Organization (WHO); International Labour Organization (ILO); UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO); and the Bretton Woods Institutions (World Bank and the International Monetary Fund). The World Trade Organization (WTO) also participates in ECOSOC sessions.

Non-governmental organizations have been active in the United Nations since its founding. They interact with the UN Secretariat, programmes, funds and agencies, and they consult with the Member States. NGO work related to the UN comprises a number of activities including information dissemination, awareness raising, development education, policy advocacy, joint operational projects, and providing technical expertise and collaborating with UN agencies, programmes and funds. This work is undertaken in formal and informal ways at the national level and at the UN. Official UN Secretariat relations with NGOs fall into two main categories: consultations with governments, and information servicing by the Secretariat. These functions are the responsibility of two main offices of the UN Secretariat dealing with NGOs: the NGO Unit of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), and the NGO Section of the Department of Public Information.

The following are the formal rights and arrangements for the participation of NGOs in consultative and roster status with ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies.

·                    The provisional agenda of the Economic and Social Council shall be communicated to organizations in general, special and roster status.

·                    NGOs with general status have the right to place items on the agenda of ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies.

·                    Organizations with general and special status may designate authorized representatives to sit as observers at public meetings of ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies. Those on the roster may have representatives present at such meetings concerned with matters within their field of competence.

·                    Brief written statements can be submitted by organizations in general and special status and can be published as UN documents and circulated to members of the council or subsidiary body. These statements will be circulated by the Secretary-General in the relevant UN working languages and also may be translated into any of the official languages of the UN upon request by a member government. NGOs on the roster may be invited to submit written statements.

·                    The ECOSOC Committee on NGOs shall make recommendations to ECOSOC concerning which NGOs in general status make an oral presentation during the session; NGOs in special status may also address ECOSOC, provided there is no ECOSOC subsidiary body with jurisdiction in a major field of interest to the council and to an organization in special status. No provision is made for NGOs on the roster to address ECOSOC.

·                    Commissions and other subsidiary organs of ECOSOC may consult with NGOs in general and special status; such consultations may be arranged on the request of the NGO. Organizations on the roster may also be heard by the commissions or subsidiary organs on the recommendation of the UN Secretary-General and at the request of the commission or other subsidiary organ.

·                    A commission of ECOSOC may recommend that an NGO with special competence in a particular field undertake studies or investigations or prepare papers for the commission.

·                    NGOs shall be able to consult with officers of the appropriate sections of the Secretariat on matters of mutual interest or concern. Such consultations shall be upon request of the NGO or the Secretary-General.

·                    The Secretary-General may request organizations in general, special and roster status to carry out studies or prepare papers.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)[iii] is the world’s largest--and most broadly based--multilateral organization for grant-based technical cooperation. It works to build developing countries’ capacities for sustainable human development by promoting and supporting efforts to alleviate poverty, manage natural resources to benefit both people and the environment, improve governance and create opportunities for people to improve their lives.

UNDP’s policy of working with agencies other than government dates back some 20 years. This policy gained impetus in the mid-1980s when a specialist unit was established to interface with NGOs. Since then, UNDP’s collaboration with civil society organizations (CSOs) has expanded and diversified significantly, particularly within the framework of SHD. Over the years, UNDP has gradually strengthened its staff capacity to work with CSOs. It has simplified rules and procedures, in addition to developing policies and strategies to facilitate UNDP-CSO collaboration.

The strategy paper entitled UNDP and Organizations of Civil Society: Building Sustainable Partnerships, approved in 1993, provided the framework for UNDP’s cooperation with CSOs. Based on the lessons learned in the process of its implementation, UNDP has adopted a number of measures aimed to improve the way in which UNDP works with CSOs. Briefly, they include the following.

·                    A policy statement on strengthening partnerships between UNDP and CSOs reiterates the importance that UNDP places on people-centred and participatory processes and provides a framework for collaboration with CSOs.

·                    A new policy on Information Disclosure was approved in 1997. All relevant documents pertaining to UNDP’s programming cycle are now available to the broader public upon request, thus improving UNDP’s transparency and accountability to its partners, especially within civil society. Work is ongoing to assess our capacity to implement this policy systematically and cost-effectively.

·                    Procedures for NGO Execution have been prepared, which will guide UNDP country offices and other concerned parties in how to select and apply the NGO Execution modality to UNDP-supported projects. These procedures have been reviewed by the UN Office of Legal Affairs.

·                    UNDP’s Policy Document on Governance re-asserts UNDP’s responsiveness and accountability toward the public and private sectors as well as the significance of fostering people’s participation. A CSO dialogue was conducted as part of UNDP’s recent International Conference on Governance at the UN in New York with 200 CSO representatives, along with fora for ministers, parliamentarians and mayors.



The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)[iv] is providing leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life of future generations. UNEP’s basic aim is to provide coherence and strengthen the varied environmental activities taking place throughout the world by the systematic functions of United Nations.

UNEP was conceived as a catalyzing agency for the entire United Nations family to help focus on environmental issues, monitor trends and facilitate coordinated international action to safeguard the environment. It has been described as the environmental conscience of the United Nations system given its mandate to motivate and inspire, raise environmental awareness and increase action, and to coordinate the environmental work of all the UN organizations and agencies.

One of the most important strategies for implementing the work programme will be the identification of strategic partnerships with Major Groups. This has been done with the realization that there are growing knowledgeable and increasingly active NGO communities, private sector and other Major Groups on environmental and natural resources management issues. The involvement of these groups will receive increasing attention.

UNEP’s Policy on NGOs and Civil Society

UNEP has endeavored to enhance partnerships with NGOs by means of:[v]

  • Institutionalizing NGO/Major Groups’ participation in project implementation and evaluation;
  • continually reviewing mechanisms for cooperation with NGOs/Major Groups with a view to keeping abreast with global and regional trends and needs;
  • encouraging and, where feasible, supporting the participation of NGOs/Major Groups in policy development, and bringing proposals for broader participation and access to the attention of the Governing Council whenever necessary;
  • Co-fundraising with individual NGO/Major Groups partners to finance agreed projects and programmes.

Moreover, there is a crucial vehicle for cooperation with the United Nations family is the United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service (NGLS). The UNEP has been encouraging in environmental issues while awarding with different outstanding names such as Sasakawa Environment Prize, The European Better Environment Award for Industry is a biennial award presented in 2000 by the International Chamber of Commerce, In 1987, Global 500 Roll of Honour to encourage individuals and community action in defense of the environment. Since its inception, 634 individuals and organizations worldwide have received the Global 500 award in the adult category.

UNEP launched its Global 500 Youth Environment Award during World Environment Day celebrations held during UNCED in 1992. The award is intended to recognize the contribution made by young people who have distinguished themselves in the field of environmental protection. UNEP’s Global Ozone Award is presented to individuals and organizations for activities in the four categories of science, technology, policy and implementation and non-governmental organizations which are highly involved in raising awareness and catalyze solutions.

GO–NGO Collaboration

Though social development has emerged as a very important sector in 21st century there are no institutionalized mechanisms of collaboration of the Government and NGOs[vi]. The need of the hour is to evolve long term, sustainable and institutionalized collaboration between the Government and NGOs.

NGOs in any country all over the world including international development agencies seek collaboration with government and development organizations for the below mentioned causes:


·                    to access technical or managerial resources;

·                    to gain legitimacy or recognition;

·                    to gain institutional support

·                    to adapt a programme to their area;

·                    to acquire appropriate solutions to development problems;

·                    to enhance people’s participation in government programmes; and

·                    to promote greater accountability and transparency, and

·                    to promote reforms in public services systems.


In initial formation stages NGOs needs governmental resources and linkages for better organizational services for the needy people. In the later stages, when there is relative stability of funds and a sufficient pool of experience to draw upon, the NGO’s priorities may change: it may be motivated to make larger scale impacts or inform public policy through its work. Secondly, the ideology and the quality of leadership strongly influence the motivation of the agency in working with the government.


Government agencies on the other hand work with NGOs to:

·        Enhance people’s participation in their programmes;

·        to extend coverage of programmes to areas and groups that are poorly served by government staff;

·        to test and replicate innovative approaches; and

·        to achieve greater cost effectiveness.

Therefore, behind a NGOs’ interest in working with the government, or conversely, the government extending an invitation to NGOs, lays a certain degree of convergence in their development objectives and certain needs.

GO-NGO Collaboration in Andhra Pradesh

The Government of Andhra Pradesh set up the GO-NGO collaboration committee under the Go.Ms.No.28, Dated 30-12-2004 of Planning (Plg VII) Department. According to this Government order there will be committee at state and district level. At the state level coordination committee Chief Minister as Chair Person, Minister of Rural Development will be Vice Chairperson and The retired civil servant with considerable experience in development sector to be nominated as Executive Vice Chair Person and other members will come from Principle Secretary to Government of Panchayati Raj and Rural Development, Principle Secretary to Government of School Education Department and Principle Secretary to Government of Health Medical and Family Welfare.


The Benefits of Network Membership


When the effective partnership or networks exists between the GO-NGO and the donor agencies, there will be fruitful benefits for the both sides. The most commonly cited benefits for network members are:

Access to information


Effective network or partnership will facilitate the tremendous needy recourse information to NGO. Information is the key for social transformation. Especially in networking organizations, diverse information will be available on different issues regarding finance, functions and other relating to the social development.



Collaboration is itself platform for diverse knowledge on social development. NGO network or GO-NGO networks provides professional knowledge and expertise to NGO. This will help to NGOs to change as the professional organizations.


Financial Resources


NGOs will get tremendous accessibilities to financial resources through the effective networks.  Most NGOs attach greatly to their independence from government. They see themselves as voluntary organizations for social development. Affiliation with the government and other developmental agencies is the final end for NGOs to get financial assistance.


Increased efficiency


These kinds of networks enhance the NGOs efficiency in the global competitive development sector. NGOs need to maintain continuity in increased efficiency. Efficient NGOs will exist in the competitive development world and the competency will come through the collaborations with different developmental organizations.


Increases Impact Availability


Networking some of organizations with government and donor agencies is the key for the effective functions of the organizations. Networks or collaborations increase the impact availability to member organizations in the network or partnership.

Solidarity and Support


NGOs will get the solidarity and support of the members and other developmental organizations. In the present development circumstances solidarity is the big asset for any NGO. Solidarity is a main concept for speedy activities of the organization. But support even could be obtained from people. Here solidarity can be obtained from partners and other collaborators.

International Scenario of 21st Century NGOs


Democratization, globalization and the rise of new market economies are having profound impacts on NGOs in various countries. In Latin America and South Africa, where civil society was often focused on the struggle for democracy, NGOs have been able to refocus on development and the environment. In China, Russia or Central Asia where there is little tradition of NGOs, there has been a growing recognition of the positive contribution they can make[vii].


But, like it or not, NGOs are experiencing a paradigm shift. The environment in which they evolved and boomed is now mutating. Some trends are in their favour, others not. Anti-globalization protests, underpinned by a groundswell in public support, have come to define the latest wave in public concern for social and environmental issues.


Working collaboratively with the private sector is an increasingly popular route for NGOs. As early as 1998, a survey of 133 US NGOs found that while many rated their current relationship with corporations as ‘antagonistic’ or ‘nonexistent’, most foresaw the development of cooperative relationships in future. Major environmental groups like Conservation International have long established corporate partnership programs, but even traditionally more hostile groups like Environmental Defense in the US and Amnesty International in the UK have established collaborative relationships with leading businesses. Greenpeace, often seen as one of the more hostile groups, declared at a London conference in 2002 that ‘Greenpeace is a company’s best ally,’ able to help ‘bring companies into port before the storm. Companies need Greenpeace in order to win.


There is also anecdotal evidence that growing numbers of companies are keen to engage in strategic dialogue with NGOs, both in western developed countries and in other parts of the world where NGOs have not traditionally had a strong role (e.g. Japan).82 That said, and while ‘partnerships’ between NGOs and business are an evolving trend in the world of corporate social responsibility, not everyone is convinced that NGOs get a good deal from these relationships.


However interest in partnerships endures indeed grows. One reason: pressure from funding sources. For example, the Avina Foundation in Latin America has programs that provide matching funding to NGOs that can raise money from the private sector. And Oxfam America was only able to access funding from the Ford Foundation with the involvement of Starbucks in a project helping a community cooperative in Mexico to improve the quality of fairly traded coffee. Government departments, including the Department for International Development in the UK and the Canadian International Development Agency, also now have programs specifically promoting NGO business engagement.


Amnesty International, Save the Children and CARE, are also expanding their remit from addressing human needs and political and civil rights to include a greater focus on human, economic and social rights. This requires such organizations to engage the underlying power relationships that result in these unmet needs, leading them into greater engagement with other powerful actors, including the private sector.


Finally, 21st century NGOs, NGO-like organizations and CSOs play an increasingly vital role in democratic and democratizing societies and the challenges they address are growing, and will continue to do so. Governments and business may resist their advocacy, but there is now real interest in the potential roles NGOs can play in developing and deploying solutions as a result, a new market-focused opportunity space is opening up, but this often requires solutions that are not simply based on single-issue responses.


Sustainable Development


The concept of sustainable development[viii] is widely used term and still being developed. Sustainable development does not focus solely on environmental issues. More broadly, sustainable development policies encompass three general policy areas: economic, environmental and social. In support of this, several United Nations texts, most recently the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document, refer to the "interdependent and mutually reinforcing pillars" of sustainable development as economic development, social development, and environmental protection. It could also be called “equitable and balanced” development. It should balance the interests of different groups of people[ix], within the same generation and among generations.


The Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity (UNESCO, 2001) elaborates further the concept by stating that "...cultural diversity is as necessary for humankind as biodiversity is for nature”; it becomes “one of the roots of development understood not simply in terms of economic growth, but also as a means to achieve a more satisfactory intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual existence"[x]. In this vision, cultural diversity is the fourth policy area of sustainable development.


I.             Global Warming and Climate Change


Millennium Development Goals


International Community at present is working for the MDGs for better future[xi]:

  • Poverty and Hunger
  • Education
  • Gender
  • Child Mortality
  • Maternal Health
  • HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other Diseases
  • Environment, water and Sanitation
  • Aid Trade, Growth and Global Partnership


Global warming can be explained in terms of the carbon cycle (its transfer and transformation in the environmental system) is perturbed by human activities. This perturbation results in an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide over time. This increase results in increased absorption of solar radiation and this led to increase in radiation absorption increases the temperature of the atmosphere and then increased temperature alters the climate and alteration of climate produces unacceptable loss of value. Thus, many people consider that Global Warming is the greatest environmental threat of the 21st Century.


However, during the 80s and early 90s scientists argued about the causes and effects of global warming. In the late 1990s scientists reached a consensus that global warming was a cause for concern. Global climate change is occurring and something must be done. We have the technology to make necessary cuts in GHG emissions. Countries must be allowed to continue developing, but must do so in a sustainable manner. This presents a great opportunity for private industry. With the assistance of NGOs and governments, countries can develop in a sustainable manner and private business can benefit simultaneously. In the on going conference on Global Warming, stated that the United States and Saudi Arabia are the World’s worst ‘climate sinners’ in the world (UN Conference in Bali, December 3-14, 2007).










Impacts of Climate Change -India



In India, impact of climate change can be associated with the concepts of rising in the sea level, expansion of oceans, melting glaciers, small ice caps and ice sheets. In this way, the process can be explained as accelerated sea level rise by about 9-88 cm due to the thermal expansion of oceans and melting of glaciers, small ice caps, and ice sheets. And, this projected rise is 2-5 times faster than the rate observed over the last 100 years. Changes in the quantity and pattern of precipitation, vegetation cover, and soil moisture. An increase in the frequency, intensity, and duration of storms and other extreme weather events are highly observed.





India being agri-based market economy, the intensity in the areas of agriculture and forestry and low technical and financial adaptive capacity, is vulnerable to climate change. Climate models indicate that India’s climate could become    warmer and heavy rainfall events are likely to be more. In the agriculture sector, it is estimated that a loss of 9% to 25% in farm revenue for a temperature rise of 2-3.5 degrees celsius. Agriculture in the coastal regions of Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Karnataka is likely to be affected the most. Forests are the most important components for the equitable eco-system. This will be increased the rainfall and productivity of tropical forests in India. In teak plantations and in moist deciduous forest, higher temperatures will reduce soil moisture resulting in a decline in productivity of forests.


In coastal areas, India is experienced with rise in sea level. Moreover, India is among the 27 countries identified as vulnerable to a rise in sea level. It leads to consequences in coastal infrastructure, tourism and other economic activities such as oil exploration are also at risk. It is estimated that a 1-metre rise in sea level will affect 5763 square kilometers. The following graphs can explain the rate of carbon emissions in the world.









UN Conference on Global Warming and Climate Change


In the UN system, Kyoto Protocol is the major experiment for the environmental protection in international arena. In this context, The UN is formulated an international treaty (1997) to reduce green house gas emission by 2008-2012. The treaty pressure on 36 industrial nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, these are key source of global warming. International scientists warn that the global warming can be lead to, if it is neglected, changes and occurrences will be severe in catastrophic droughts, Floods, Collapsing ice sheets and Vanishing coastlines.


The recent Bali Conference on Global Warming indicated that China’s relatively positive in emission growth and will slow down in the future. 56 industrialized countries together account for 90% of global carbon dioxide emission and Saudi Arabia and the US are the world’s largest oil exporter, was the biggest climate sinners. Moreover, reiterated that The United States, the only major industrialized country not signed Kyoto Protocol


Advocacy and Activism

Advocacy and Activism entails influencing opinion on emerging social, economic and environmental issues. It comprises of systematic and ongoing monitoring of existing policies, their implementation and reformulation. It also involves building networks, coalitions and alliances of like-minded individuals and organizations. It implies convening a forum of different yet commonly concerned actors. It requires the structuring of dialogues across differing perspectives and players. It entails establishing linkages and accountability between micro and macro issues and actors. It also entails lobbying, campaigning and public education.


In this sphere, as per as environmental issues is concerned the works of the following institutes in environmental issues are explained such as Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI), Center for Science and Environment (CSE), Green Peace, International Institute for Sustainable development and Earth Watch.


Tata Energy and Research Institute (TERI),

TERI[xii] is established in 1974 as independent not-for-profit research institute. Its mission is to develop and promote technologies, policies and institutions for efficient and sustainable use of natural resources. It has been imparting environmental education through projects, workshops, audio visual aids and quiz competitions. It deals with policy related work in the energy sector, research on environmental subjects’ development on renewable energy technologies and promotion of energy efficiency in the industry and transport.

TERI also has a major programme in biotechnology, the applications of which are oriented towards increased biomass production, conversion of waste into useful products and mitigating the harmful environmental impacts of several economic activities. Publications: They have several books on energy, climate change, renewable energy, regulation, environment and sustainable development and forestry & biodiversity.

Environmental activities are a road to greater profitability and would create within the organizations a productive workforce sensitive and proactive towards changes.


TERI’s activities are in the following fields:


  • Energy,
  • Efficient utilization of energy
  • Environment
  • Sustainable development and
  • Sustainable use of natural resources,
  • Large–scale adoption of renewable energy technologies and
  • Reduction of all forms of wastes


TERI’s work on Climate change is very much recognized to have differential impacts across regions, sectors, and communities. Lakhwar watershed is highly sensitive to increased water stress due to climate change. Greater Bombay and Chennai emerged as the coastal districts where coastal ecosystems are already stressed. Need to study climate change in the context of multiple stresses, like globalization and urbanization. Existing national and regional policies can enhance or constrain ability to adapt to climate change. Also TERI is doing an event on Children’s charter of climate change to protect the future generations.


Centre for Science and Environment (CSE)

             Centre for Science and Environment (CSE)[xiii] is an independent, public interest organisation which aims to increase public awareness on science, technology, environment and development. The Centre was started in 1980. For more than two decades, CSE has been creating awareness about the environmental challenges facing our nation. Searching for solutions that people and communities can implement themselves.

           CSE has been creating public environmental awareness, pushing the government to create frameworks for individual and community actions, and seeking balanced and informed analysis of the global politics of environment. More importantly, CSE is working for clean air by introducing CNG buses in Delhi. This leads to reduce particulate pollution and also ccampaigning for air pollution and it causes one death every hour.



Greenpeace[xiv] is an International organization working in 40 countries across Europe, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific. Greenpeace has been campaigning against environmental degradation since 1971 when a small boat of volunteers and journalists sailed into Amchitka, an area north of Alaska where the US Government was conducting underground nuclear tests. This tradition of 'bearing witness' in a non-violent manner continues today, and our ships are an important part of all our campaign work.


Green Peace’s works on Pollution are follows:


  • Marine pollution,
  • Oil pollution from accidents and
  • Illegally discharged tank cleaning wastes
  • The high visibility of oil spills upon marine environments
  • Also campaigns for marine domestic sewage,
  • Industrial discharges and leakages from waste tips,
  • Sea dumping operations, oil production, and
  • Mining, agriculture nutrients and pesticides, waste heat sources, and
  • Radioactive discharges


Earth watch

Earth Watch[xv] supports scientific field research related to sustainable development conducted by leading scientists in a broad range of disciplines, from habitat management to health care. Earthwatch's Research Program provides vital support where funding is typically limited, to scientists from developing countries, women in science, and long-term monitoring projects.

Education  — Earthwatch is a respected leader in the field of experiential education, with programs ranging from improving the quality of geography instruction to "live from the field," web-based virtual expeditions reaching classrooms worldwide

Conservation  —Earth Watch established strategic international and community partnerships to support multi-disciplinary research projects in some of the world's outstanding areas of ecological and cultural value.

Earth Watch’s major working area is Climate Change and the following are the major activities on climate change.

  • Promotes public understanding of the impact of climate change


  • It works to help mitigate negative impacts.


  • It also shapes human responses to the environment


  • Mission is to engage people to promote the sustainable environment


  • Action for understanding the sustainable environment

Earthwatch’s regular activities are communicating with scientists (130+ annually) about proposed research projects, recent findings, and research results, building networks of students and teachers (700 annually) to share expedition-based curricula and lesson plans, collaborating with global partner organizations (50 worldwide) on conservation and management plans, sharing program results and upcoming events with Earthwatch members (20,000 members), matching eager volunteers (4,000 annually) from all over the world with the right research project and engaging corporate partners (more than 50) and thousands of individuals to further support Earthwatch's successes.

International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

IISD[xvi] is established in 1990 and a Canadian-based not-for-profit organization. IISD is in the business of promoting change towards sustainable development. As a policy research institute dedicated to effective communication of our findings, we engage decision-makers in government, business, NGOs and other sectors in the development and implementation of policies that are simultaneously beneficial to the global economy, the global environment and to social well-being. In the pursuit of sustainable development, IISD promotes open and effective international negotiation processes.

Winrock International India (WII)

Winrock International India (WII)[xvii] is a non-profit organization and working in the areas of natural resources management, clean energy and climate change. Winrock International India has been accorded recognition as a Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (SIRO) by the Department of Scientific & Industrial Research (DSIR), Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India, under the Scheme on Recognition of Scientific and Industrial Research Organizations (SIROs)-1988.

The thrust of WII’s efforts are to:

  1. Encourage and empower primary users of natural resources to sustainably manage the resources that they depend on using participatory approaches, and develop long-term strategies to adopt livelihoods of their choice,
  2. Promote energy efficiency and use of renewable energy for rural development and for a cleaner environment,
  3. Understand and address the challenges of global climate change, and
  4. Reach out to involve people, communities and institutions to strengthen our efforts to develop and implement sustainable solutions.

Prime focused areas of WII:

In each of these areas we plan, monitor and implement projects, emphasizing the development of local institutions, leadership and skills at all levels. Our ultimate aim is putting ideas to work to change the lives of our project beneficiaries. Many years of experience in diverse regions and cultures across the world give us the insight and ability to respond to the specific needs of both funding institutions and clients. Our internal support structure ensures that each activity is managed professionally, and we take pride in matching global resources to local requirements in an optimal and cost-effective manner.

The Energy and Environment (E&E) Program of Winrock International India (WII) promotes sustainable energy development through accelerated commercialization of energy efficiency and clean and renewable energy technologies. The overarching goal is to bring about significant improvement in the quality of life of the people through sustainable solutions linked to the development process and livelihoods.

WII works independently and in collaboration with Government, NGOs, research institutions, industry, bilateral and multilateral development agencies, on projects aimed at achieving poverty elimination and sustainable development. Some of WII’s prominent partners in energy and environment are:

  • Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE)
  • Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA)
  • United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
  • National Renewable Energy Laboratories (NREL)
  • The World Bank (WB)
  • British High Commission (BHC)
  • United Nations Development Program (UNDP)
  • United Nations Educational, Social & Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
  • United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA)
  • World Health Organization (WHO)
  • United Nations Asia Pacific Centre for Technology Transfer (UNAPCTT)
  • Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)
  • Electricite de France (EDF)
  • South African Development Community (SADC)
  • International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)
  • Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)
  • State governments
  • The W. Alton Jones Foundation (WAJ)
  • European Commission

IV. Watershed Development


Sustainable participatory watershed management can be defined as “Utilization and conservation of land, water and forest resources at farm house- hold and community or given           watershed level for continuously       improved     livelihood and overall human development”.


It is defined as an imaginary unit area where all the falling water is supposed to be draining through a single common outlet.  It is a Unit area of integrated Natural & Human Resources Development. It is a unit area of a Common drainage, more or less of village catchments for integrated village development. Treatment practices for maximization of potential of Natural & Human Resources. It is a approach of integrated and sustainable development with effective participation of the people.


Components of Watershed Development


The following are the major components in the process of watershed development:


• Human Resource Development (Community Development)
• Soil and Land Management
• Water Management
• Crop Management
• Afforestation
• Pasture/Fodder Development
• Livestock Management
• Rural Energy Management
• Farm and non-farm value addition activities

All these components are interdependent and interactive.


PRA & Micro Planning


PRA is fast emerging peoples centered development approach.PRA also can be called “an approach and method for learning Rural life through their direct participation”. PRA is, as a method, to enable rural people to share, enhance and analyze their knowledge of life and to plan and to act. For both RRA and PRA, good performance requires that practitioners and facilitators follow basic principles. 


No and Low Cost Technology

The most important aspect is to concentrate on no cost technology. Activities of family welfare, literacy, health and hygiene, soil conservation, water harvesting should be done without any investment from the government. Minimum financial requirement is arising and it should be mobilized from community itself. The watershed activists strive to see that community is united for resources without any link to funding.


Involvement of People Sanghas and Voluntary Agencies


The efforts of sanghas and NGOs can be pooled with the active cooperation of the villages into the participatory model. Proper understanding of the role of sanghas and NGOs is required to be created among the people of the watersheds. There should be transparent communications between the people, official and any sanghas. There should only be joint action of people and       coordinating machinery of Government or NGOs.


JFM and People’s Participation


JFM[xviii] is a forest management strategy under which the government and the village community enter into an agreement to jointly protect and manage forestland adjoining villages and to share responsibilities and benefits. The village community is represented through an institution specifically formed for the purpose. This institution is known by different names in different states but most commonly referred to as the Forest Protection Committee (FPC). In some states, panchayats can also enter into a JFM agreement with the Forest Department. Under JFM, the FPC takes the responsibility of protecting a forest patch from fire, grazing and illegal harvesting. In return, it gets greater access to forest produce and a share in income earned from that forest patch.

JFM programmes have increased the income of participating communities at several places. In Andhra Pradesh, over 40 million persondays of work were created through JFM- related activities between 1994 and 2000. In Maharashtra, approximately one million rupees is spent on the microplan of each FPC constituted. A significant proportion of this is wage component, which primarily goes to the FPC members. In Harda division of Madhya Pradesh, irrigation facilities developed under JFM have increased the crop yield by two to five times. In Gujarat, better availability of grass and tree fodder after the initiation of JFM has led to increase in milk production in several villages. In some states, FPCs have started earning through sale of produce from their forest patches. In West Bengal, even though the sharing percentage is one of the lowest in the country (25 per cent), it is estimated that on an average each FPC has received about Rs 70,000 as share in timber revenue. Income from non-timber forest produce (NTFP) is even greater. Women in several FPCs in West Bengal are able to earn between Rs 4,500 and 6,000 annually through sale of sal leaf plates.

In several places, JFM has helped reduce areas under illegal encroachment. For instance, in Andhra Pradesh, nearly 12 per cent of the encroached forestland (38,158 ha) has reportedly been vacated following the initiation of the JFM programme. The JFM programme has led to considerable involvement of NGOs in the forestry sector although there is significant variation from state to state. Over 250 NGOs are involved in the JFM programme in Andhra Pradesh alone.


Considering the success of the JFM approach in the past decade, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests has decided to focus on it to achieve the national target of 33 per cent tree cover by 2012. It has been decided to merge all existing schemes of the National Afforestation and Eco-development Board into a National Afforestation Programme, which will be implemented through the JFM approach from the Tenth Plan onwards.


Andhra Pradesh has substantial funding (Rs354 crores), for JFM from the World Bank. In keeping with World Bank’s world-wide policy of involving NGOs wherever appropriate as facilitators of participatory development, the Andhra Pradesh JFM Resolution (1993) specifies NGO roles more comprehensively than any other state Resolution. Still, their representation in the VSS is conditional upon 'need'.


The role for NGO involvement in JFM as outlined by the Andhra Pradesh state comes under three broad headings:


·                                Support role to the Forest Department and to other NGOs: organising orientation programmes; co-ordinating training for Forest Department, other NGOs and members of the VSS; preparation of communication packages on JFM for the Forest Department, other NGOs and VSS.

·                                Village-level activities: disseminating information on government programmes; liaison with government and communities for approval of the VSS so as to get access to land, access to funds and facilitation of implementation; arranging funds for JFM implementation from sources other than Forest Department; strengthening people’s involvement through capacity-building of VSS committees for democratic functioning and conflict management; organising events and activities such as women’s camps, tree nurseries, peripheral tree and fodder plantations, and promotion of biogas and fuel-saving stoves to reduce extraction from forest lands; and documentation of field experience to identify emerging issues

·                                Research and networking with Forest Department and NGOs on institutional, economic and ecological aspects of JFM. NGOs involved in JFM in Andhra Pradesh have networked at the state as well as district level. Aranyika is an example of an older existing network, which with the initiation of the JFM programme and later involvement of and formation of SPWD'S national JFM network, became a member of the network though not all members of the Aranyika network are members of the JFM network. The Aranyika Network started functioning in 1988. Now there are 16 active voluntary organisations as members and another 10 NGOs as participants and proposed members. So far their network is limited to eastern ghats of Andhra Pradesh and Orissa. The main objective is the development of ‘tribal’ society in the Integrated Tribal Development areas by reviving the traditional system and strengthening people's platform. The Aranyika members have reached a consensus to take up JFM as a common action programme pooling all the resources available from among the tribals, NGOs and researchers. There have been several meetings and training camps under this network.


EIAs and EMPs


NGOs have, in particular, played an important role in raising environmental concerns, developing awareness of environmental issues and promoting sustainable development. The encouragement of public participation in environmental management through legislation in recent years has also enhanced the role of NGOs and Major Groups.





EIA is an exercise to be carried out before any project or major activity is undertaken, and to ensure that it will not in any way harm the environment on a short term or long term basis. The purpose of: EIA is to identify the potential beneficial and to know the adverse impacts of development projects on the environment.


An EIA concentrate on problems, conflicts and natural resource constraints which might affect the viability of a project. It also predicts how the project could harm to people, their homeland, their livelihoods


The aim of an EIA is to ensure that potential impacts are identified and addressed at an early stage in the projects planning and design. The role for EIA was formally recognized at the Earth Summit held at Rio conference in 1992. In 1985, the Dept of Environment and Forests, Government of India, issued guidelines for Environmental Assessment of river valley projects. In India, EIA was formulated through the “Environment impact Assessment Notification 1994”.


Public Hearing Process in India


The role for EIA was formally recognized at the earth summit held at Rio conference in 1992. Principle 17 of the Rio declaration states that – “EIA as a national instrument shall be undertaken for the proposed activities that are likely to have significant adverse impact on the environment and are subject to a decision of a competent national authority”.


In India many of the developmental projects till as recently as the 1980s were implemented with very little or no environmental concerns. The environmental issues began receiving attention when a national committee on environmental planning and coordination was set up under the 4th five year plan (1969- 1978). Till 1980, the subjects of environment and forests were the concern of the Dept of Science and Technology and Ministry of Agriculture respectively.

Later, the issues were formally attended by the Dept of Environment which was established in 1980. This was then upgraded to the Ministry of Environment & Forest in 1985. In 1980, clearance of large projects from the environmental angle became an administrative requirement to the extent that the planning commission and the central investment board sought proof of such clearance before according financial sanction.


Draw back in the Indian system:


A number of projects are excluded from the mandatory public hearing process. Most projects are located in the resource rich tribal and rural areas. Due to the inherent social conditions in such areas, people are easily convinced and lured by the prospect of money and jobs. The local environmental and social groups failed to educate the people about the true nature and impacts of the project. The people are informed just few days before the stipulated date of public hearing. The project owners suppress the voices of people during the public hearing. The local administration also supports the projects owner and lack of clarity in the notification for conducting the public hearing. The recommendations are only advisory and it is not mandatory for the impact assessment agency.


Capacity Building:


There is an urgent need to build capacities of government agencies, communities, NGOs and the judiciary with regard to the implementation of the existing EIA notification. Even in the instances where the provisions allow for peoples participation or monitoring, the lack of information and capacity are great hindrances in implementation. For instances, the public hearing panel often has no clue on the scope of 17 their role in environmental clearance process. Judiciary, which is involved in the redressal , is comprised of judges who may not be clued into the environmental issues and their interface with laws. No matter how good the provisions of the law are, their implementation hinges on the capacities of official who are meant to do it.

Major areas of Capacity Building:


  • Role in environmental clearance process.


  • Role of Judiciary


  • Laws on the environmental issues and


  • Their interface with laws


  • How good the provisions of the law are



Environmental Management Plans


NGOs activities now include environmental monitoring;


·        Promoting environmental education, training and

·        Capacity-building; implementing   demonstration projects;


·        Conducting advocacy work in partnership with the government; and


·        The promotion of regional and international cooperation on environment.

·        Many also get involved in the practical management of conservation areas, and

·        promote community or individual action and

·        Campaign for greater accountability on the part of the government and corporate sector.


Pollution Control

The role of NGOs for pollution control activities can hardly be over-emphasized[xix]. An NGO Cell has been set up at Central Pollution Control Board to coordinate the following tasks:

  • Enlist environmental NGOs involved in activities related to pollution control with CPCB;
  • Establish NGO network in consultation with State Pollution Control Boards/Zonal Offices of CPCB;
  • Provide training to the NGOs and equip them with facilities, like water testing kits, analytical instruments, books, literature etc. In order to enhance their capabilities in the field of pollution control; and
  • Organize mass awareness programmes and pollution control activities through NGOs.  
  • Implementation of the various provisions of pollution control for past more than two decades
  • Working for participation of masses in achieving the targets committed in the Policy Statements for Abatement of Pollution
  • Demonstration on Public interest litigations
  • Significant pressure on polluting industries for adopting pollution control measures.
  • Providing information on mass awareness with regard to control of pollution
  • Conducting preliminary river and air surveys for identification of any pollution source
  • Keeping vigil on abstraction of water/discharge of sewage trade effluent by any industry in quantity in relation to flow/volume
  • Conducting sampling and analysis of river/well water to ascertain the quality of river/well water
  • Providing information on poisonous, noxious or polluting matter into any stream or well or on land or in air
  • Providing information on river stretch requires prohibition on use for disposal of polluting matters – (for notification under Section 24 of the Water Act)
  • Providing information on violation of consent such as discharges in odd hours etc
  • Providing information on fish kill or other sudden damage to the environment


The major environmental problems brought to the notice by NGOs are vehicles and traffic jams, waste- water from road-ways, work-shops, discharges of auto garages, slaughter houses, air pollution problems, pollution of rivers and power plants, aluminium plant, caustic soda plants, chemical industries and stone crushers, Fluoride problems.


Funding Opportunities



In the present context of the funding opportunities for environment, micro finance and social development are the major sector in the world for funding opportunities. The past five decades have witnessed the increasing in the funding resources by international foundations, UN sestems and developmental institutions and religious based organizations all over the world. Moreover US is the lead country to spending on social development for Voluntary sector.


As a result, all concerned have realized the potential of NGOs and their considerable merit compared to the public/private developmental sectors because of their emerging opportunities, dedication and sympathy for the deprived sections of our society and their personalized approach towards the solution of problems.




                   Where is an official?

                   Where is a NGO?

                   Where is participation?

                   Where is coordination?

                   Where is development?

                   Where is the project?

                   WHEN IS A NEW DAWN?


Road Map



  • Coordination with NGO’s as per UN guidelines, GOIs policies Government of Andhra Pradesh Orders
  • Network with stake holders, Government departments, NGO’s and CSR
  • Capacity Building of Officials and NGOs
  • Holistic Development of Environmental Conservation and Development, from prevention to mitigation


The total number of NGOs in the country is about more than 1.5 million; while the world over the number crossed more than 5 million. Commercialization of NGOs has no doubt led to their rapid growth and changing their paradigm shift from non profits to profits making organizations in the 21st century.





-         Social development is growing rapidly along side information Technology

-         NGOs are playing crucial role in Environmental Protection, conservation and development.

-         Government, NGO and people collaboration is the imminent need of the hour.

-         NGOs are the watchdogs of the environmental issues


Multi-sectoral coordination and convergence and holistic and sustainable development can be achieved with participation of NGOs.





















[i] . United Nation, NGLS Hnadbook, Profiles of the UN Agencies, Programmes and Funds, p.3.

[ii] .  Ibid, p.4.

[iii] .  Ibid,


[iv] .  Ibid,

[v] . Ibid,

[vi] . . Document of Planning Commission-Tenth Five Year 2002-2007.


[vii] . Report on The 21st Century NGOs in the Market for Change, Sustainability,  Global Compact and UNEP.


[viii] . T.N. Khoshoo, Environmental Concerns and Strategies, Ashish Publishing House, New Delhi, p.10.


[ix] . Vandana Shiva, Jeremy Seabrook, Gunther Hilliges, Upendra Baxi and Edward Goldsmith and Paul Ekins, Towards Hope: An Ecological Approach to the Future, Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, New Delhi, p.33.


[xi] . The World Bank, World Development Indicators 2004, p.18.


[xii] . TERI’S website www.terindia.org


[xiii] . see for details in CSEs website.


[xiv] . see for details in www.greenpeaceinternationa.com/india/


[xv] . www.earthwatch.com



[xvi] see for details in www.iisdinternational.org



[xvii] . . www.winrockinternational.org


[xviii] . see for details in http://www.rupfor.org/jfm.asp



[xix] . see for details:  http://www.cpcb.nic.in/oldwebsite/ar2003/ar2-3ch9.htm