Non Governmental Organizations | NGOs India | NGOs in Bangalore | NGOs in India

Across the region a large array of groups work
to raise awareness of environmental issues and push
for changes in policy and development programmes.
These groups carry out environmental awareness
raising and campaigning locally, nationally, and
internationally, with some campaigns operating
simultaneously at all levels. In India, for example,
the Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad (KSSP) has earned
international recognition for its work in mobilising
public opinion among people’s organizations in
the State of Kerala (United Nations 1995). The KSSP
is regarded as one of the best-informed and
best-organized grassroots movement in India, with
over 20 000 members.
In Pakistan, the Society for the Conservation
and Protection of the Environment (SCOPE),
established in 1988, is particularly successful at
national environmental campaigns, whilst giving
priority to developing linkages with local NGOs,
research institutes, universities and government
departments. In addition SCOPE motivates
grassroots groups and undertakes public interest
litigation and advocacy work (Non Governmental
Liaison Service 1997).
Scientific and technical NGOs are assisting
in bridging the gap between science, policy makers
and the citizenry. Their research and education
work is proving a vital addition to the decision and
policy-making process. In India, for instance, the
Centre for Science and Environment publishes ‘Citizen’s Reports on the Environment’ which focus
on specific environmental issues, such as urban
pollution, and flood management. Written in nontechnical
languages, these reports enable the general
public to better understand the issues.
Many of the more established NGOs in the
region work on major national campaigns using a
range of promotion activities, from grassroots
awareness-raising, through to lobbying and media
campaigns (Box 14.2). Such campaigns are multifaceted,
involving research, awareness-raising,
education and lobbying. The Worldwide Fund for
Nature (WWF) in Malaysia, for example, has
launched the Species 2 000 Campaign to mobilize
effective national action to conserve Malaysia’s
wildlife. (WWF Malaysia, Website 6). In doing so,
WWF Malaysia has forged partnerships with many
groups involved in conservation, from Federal and
State government agencies to universities, other
NGOs and local community groups. Similar alliances
have been made by environmental groups in India,
Malaysia and Philippines to raise the awareness of
governments and the general public with regard to
the loss of fauna and flora species and consequences
for biodiversity.
One of the great challenges for NGOs
campaigning on environmental issues is to involve
as many people as possible and, particularly where
religion plays a major role in everyday life, getting
the environmental message across to key religious
groups. The Alliance of Religions and Conservation
(ARC) has been working internationally with many
faiths to forge new, practical models of religious
involvement with environmental issues. The group
espouses the Ohito Declaration of 1995, a declaration
on religions, land and conservation that states
“for people of faith maintaining and sustaining
environmental life systems is a religious
responsibility” (Xiamin and Halbertsma 1997). The
Ohito Declaration and the work of organizations such
as ARC has led to the re-discovery of ‘holy ground’
and the concept of the need for Man to preserve and
protect the environment by all the major religions of
the world.
The scope of ARC’s network activities is shown
in the involvement of the Taoists, who formally joined
ARC in 1995; the ninth faith to do so. Following
meetings with WWF/ARC staff, the Taoists asked
ARC to join them in launching a campaign to protect
their sacred holy mountains in China, which were
threatened by changes in forestry, agriculture, urban
development and, of late, tourism.
Beyond national frontiers, many environmental
NGOs have joined forces to campaign internationally.
WALHI, Indonesia, for instance, worked alongside
international NGOs such as WWF to bring the plight.


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