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Environmental Governance Group

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The Environmental Governance Group in PAC was established in 2010 with a mandate to “address the governance issues in environment and climate change affected areas. It was set up with a vision to improve the quality of life of the poor and marginalized sections of the society in environmentally affected areas (Urban and Rural). The group aims to improve the security, ecological sustainability and climate resilience of various livelihoods, livelihood groups and resources through its efforts.”

Over the past six years, the Environmental Governance Group has envisioned good governance through the use of citizen-centered tools to improve accountability. In these times of changing climate, Public Affairs Centre with its expertise to undertake and support research based on citizen science and facilitate collective citizen action through development of dialogue platforms and capacity building activities has developed several social accountability tools to answer the fundamental questions of

  • How can world’s citizens, who have a vital stake in identifying a global solution to the present climate crisis, become actors in the effort to resolve it? and
  • How can social concerns of citizens and communities be mobilised to help forge a collective will and develop the knowledge to educate the public and governments on the urgency and the need for climate protection?

To answer these questions the Environmental Governance Group has developed an approach which helps PAC to move research away from top-down, extractive information gathering towards participatory, bottom-up and inclusive knowledge generation. Based on this approach, EnGG has developed the following three tools,

  • Climate Change Score Cards (CCSC)
  • Green Manifesto
  • Community-Led Environmental Impact Assessment (CLEIA)

Climate Change Score Card considers three important dimensions; People, State, Climate. CCSC supports communities with evidence and rationale to prioritize issues and provides a platform for dialogue with relevant decision makers. The entire approach of assessing the vulnerability to climate change and formulating adaptation methods places citizens/communities at the heart of the analysis and is founded on the principles of constructive engagement.

CCSC has been pilot tested along 170 villages along the east coast of India and Cauvery delta regions, where the tool has led to identification of local level vulnerability in addition to documenting autonomous adaptation practices. PAC has trained organisations and individuals on climate change and the need for social accountability in this sector at the local level. PAC has also created policy dialogue platforms at the taluk and district level for successfully incorporating people’s voices in policy spheres. These serve as knowledge sharing platforms between communities and experts.

Green Manifesto addresses the emergent climate change and environmental issues and sets the agenda towards solving these issues at the policy level. A green manifesto is a compendium of environmental concerns and lists the approaches to overcome these concerns that a political party should incorporate in its election manifesto. Thus, it guarantees to the citizens, the rights to question a political party in power if deviating from their own commitments in the manifesto. A green Manifesto has been prepared by PAC for the states of Karnataka (2013), Tamil Nadu (2011) and Pondicherry (2011).

Community-Led Environmental Impact Assessment, a research method involving a toolkit which is utilized to generate the possible impacts on environment of any development activity/project, from the citizen’s perspective. This is an attempt to develop a participatory technique, where each tool is designed to involve the local citizens to channel their local knowledge to delineate the possible impacts and other information relevant to the project. The efficiency of this approach is in the process of being tested, along 140 Pradhan Manthri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) roads under the aegis of the National Rural Road Development Authority (NRRDA). CLEIA toolkit has shown the potential to present valuable information which can be incorporated into the Environmental Impact Assessment procedure, thereby ensuring social acceptance of the project. The study highlights the need for citizen engagement techniques and its effectiveness in developmental projects.

The expertise of Environmental Governance Group lies in enhancing and empowering people’s voices in environmental governance through the development of social accountability tools considering the triple bottom line of sustainable development. Furthermore, the group is proficient in

Action ResearchPilot and implement innovative tools, methods and approaches for enhancing social accountability.

  • Develop people centred Climate Change Score Card for different geographic regions, Climate Change Monitoring tools, Community Centred Environmental Impact Assessment Tools. These tools could systematically harness the people’s knowledge in a specific geography, their livelihoods status for addressing context specific governance issues
  • Assessment of Environmental Issues by taking up field studies, secondary research, preparation of policy briefs and recommendations based on the studies and research to government, publishing working papers and document, learnings and best practices

Creating Policy Dialogue Platforms:

  • Promote dialogue platform at the district level where the community and the governance structures interact and dialogue for addressing the issues of their livelihoods and provide inputs for policy dialoguing in addressing environment and climate change issues

 Knowledge Management

  • Develop learning materials on environment and climate change for references by different actors
  • Share experiences with different actors through IEC methods like wordpress.com, website, e-group and publish and disseminate educational and awareness materials on environment, climate change and environmental governance

Training and Capacity Development – of Environmental Governance actors on Good Governance, Social Accountability in combating the impacts of Climate Change and Environment

  • Organise and conduct workshops for the CSOs, Government functionaries at various levels. Local level analysis of sector wise and area wise analysis of environmental issues focusing on livelihood security of the poor and marginalised, providing insights and inputs for planning and implementing modular training to various categories
  • Designing training and educational programmes to various stakeholders such as NGO staff, government officials, research, students, and media groups etc

For more information on EnGG’s work, please write to greengovernance@pacindia.org

 

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