Juventude Ecologica Angolana (JEA)
Juventude Ecologica Angolana (JEA) is an environmental NGO founded in 1991 by a group of young Angolan activists. Despite the difficult conditions brought about by decades of war and limited resources, these young people have shown a great deal of enthusiasm and personal commitment, thus helping JEA become a leading environmental force in the country.
JEA, whose aim is to promote environmental education and awareness among young people is active, not only in the Capital Luanda, but also in numerous provinces. Some of JEA's achievements include: the Environmental Olympics, which promotes environmental education in high schools, involves some 2000 youth in 40 schools in Luanda and 500 youth in 10 schools in Huila Province; the production of environmental radio programmes in Luanda initiated, edited and presented by JEA, including one on National Radio and five in other provinces; the distribution of environmental information; and the promotion of environmental awareness through regular columns in newspapers, such as Journal of Angola, Actual, Humbi-Humbi and JEA's own newspaper Little Green.
JEA works closely with the Government of Angola and primarily the Ministry of Fisheries and Environment. JEA assists in the implementation of national environmental awareness and education campaigns. JEA has initiated the creation of an association comprising all Angolan environmental NGOs in an effort to enhance collaboration and communication between associations, which share a mutual cause.
JEA is a member of the CEC Commission of IUCN and the Environmental Education Association of South Africa, and works within the framework of the Southern Africa Development Community for environmental education and capacity-building.
Eco-Walk Children of Baguio City
Eco-Walk Children of Baguio City in the Philippines, established in 1992, is a series of children-oriented hikes to Busol - Baguio's main and endangered watershed. The children have turned this precious water source into a laboratory and playground for experimental learning. They have succeeded in increasing the area's forest cover and its water production.
Their visits deter tree poaching, bird hunting, fires and encroachment on natural habitats. Their example has spurred adults in the community to volunteer their time to protect the environment and has helped raise environmental awareness. Their success has also resulted in eco-walks being integrated into the curriculum of the elementary school system's grade five and six and in greater media focus on environmental issues. The teaching modules have been integrated into all the subjects to prepare children for their actual hikes and exploration of the forest, and to give them an opportunity to discuss what they have learned during their walks.
Several indigenous communities in the Cordillera Highlands, the watershed cradle of Northern Luzon, have adopted the programme to help revive their own traditional forest management systems. Eco-Walk has been replicated in other local government units (LGUs), which are drawn to the programme by its simplicity.
Eco-Walk is used by the Asian Institute of Management as a model environmental and governance case study and by the Swedish Government's 1999, 2000 and 2001 international watershed management course, which is held every January. It has also been used by the International Institute on Rural Restoration as a case study in watershed management. The Canadian International Development Agency supported and documented it in 1998 as one of six action research programmes on effective local governance in Southeast Asia, and senior Philippine environment officials plan to adopt it nationwide.
Tabigat Ecological Union
Tabigat Ecological Union, founded in 1991, is one of the first environmental NGOs in Kazakhstan. Its goal is to create ecological standards for industry, introduce advanced, non-polluting technology in the industrial sector and promote sustainable development in the region.
The first problem addressed by Tabigat is the threat of flooding by wastewaters from the Almaty City storage facility of Lake Sor-Bulak, which may affect 50,000 citizens in Balchshsky and Kurtinsky. In 1999, the Almaty Department of Ecology and Tabigat conducted a feasibility study of Sor-Bulak, which today serves as a model for other regions.
Another problem addressed by Tabigat was solid waste disposal. The authorities were to build an incinerator in the city, which would have an adverse effect on the air quality of Almaty. Tabigat opposed the construction of the incinerator and proposed alternatives for collecting and recycling the wastes, e.g. sorting the trash and redistributing it to different national industries.
Tabigat won support for establishing a resource center, which would collect and create a database for housing superintendents and apartment managers that allows interested organizations such as municipal offices and homeowners to access information on environmental issues.
In an effort to fight against desertification, Tabigat has encouraged the people of Kazakhstan to celebrate the traditional holiday of Nauryz with every Kazakhstani planting a tree. In 1998, Tabigat and the National Park "Ile-Alatau" opened a honeymoon park near the mountain of Medeo where newlyweds plant trees. In 1999, based on initiatives by Tabigat, more than 4,500 people planted 10,000 trees on 20 hectares surrounding the Vesnovka River.
In 1997, at the initiative of Tabigat, the Ministry of Ecology agreed to provide 500,000 tenge (national currency) for a feasibility study for the creation of Cherinsky, a national park between the Cherin, Chilik and Ily Rivers and the Togougir Mountains. The park will have restrictions and penalties for negligent tourists, poachers and other undesirable visitors. The plan calls for the development of ecotourism.
About 70% of emissions in Almaty come from transport. Due to the increase in vehicles and the pollution they cause, Tabigat organized a bicycle movement, which includes the development of bicycle lanes in the City and research into the flow of traffic on major city arteries.
Municipal Government of Shenzhen
Shenzhen City, established in 1980 as China's first economic special zone, has successfully followed the concept of developing the economy without damaging the environment. The municipal government followed an integrated planning approach, which involves strict laws. To date, 38 local environmental laws have been passed.
In 1982, regional environmental impact assessment and planning research on the overall development of the City was conducted and it was decided that construction in Shenzhen would be in the form of clusters. 76% of non-civil land in the City was earmarked for ecological purposes and 135 parks were created, thus increasing green coverage in the urban center by 45%.
The social and economic development strategy was undertaken in a scientific way. Great efforts were made to develop advanced science and technology-led industry characterized by quality, efficiency and resource protection. In the last five years, the City has vetoed 3,619 projects, which failed to meet environmental requirements. Shenzhen is the first city in China to achieve standard industrial discharge.
The energy and water consumption for 10,000 Yuan of industrial output is 0.7 tons and 73 tons of standard coal respectively. Cleaner energy accounts for 90% of the total energy. Today, the percentage of environmentally good days is 98.4%. The potable water has met national quality standards. The annual investment for environment has been 2 billion Yuans and increased to 3.8 billion in 2001. The City has set up eight wastewater treatment plants and China's first sanitary waste landfill plants, which meet international standards. In addition, two power plants for waste incineration and one hazardous waste safety landfill plant have been built. The City is now promoting housewaste separation and classification and has set up 69 green schools and kindergartens and one ecological demonstration township. More than 80 enterprises have received ISO14000 accreditation. In the last 21 years, the annual GDP has increased by 30.3% and the per capita GDP is now number one in China. It has succeeded in achieving rapid economic development while maintaining a favourable environmental cycle.
Chenzhen received the title National Model City for Environmental Protection and was honored as the International Garden City in 2000 by the International Association of Gardens and Recreational Facilities. Shenzhen serves as a model for successful sustainable development for developing and newly developed countries.
Fondo Ecuatoriano Populorum Progressio
The achievements of Fondo Ecuatoriano Populorum Progressio (FEPP) have been both significant and numerous.
They include: reforestation of 3,000 hectares of tropical and high Andean woodland with native species (1996-2000); design and implementation of 418 sustainable management plans in humid tropical woodlands (1998-2000); development of 3,158 hectares of farmland under the integral management concept, benefiting more than 1,000 poor families in the humid tropics and the forest margin (1997-2000); development of 5,165 hectares of cropland under the agro-forestry system (1996-2000); development of a forest inventory of 12,463 hectares of native woodland with the participation of the indigenous tenant farmer and Afro-Ecuadorian populations which enabled the assessment of the non-wood resources of the forest for sustainable exploitation (1993-2000); management of 612 hectares of virgin woodland by pruning and thinning out thus enabling the local population to exploit its resources in a sustainable manner (1993-2000); construction of slow-forming terraces, soil improvement with plant material, cultivation, water catchment conservation and production of humus in various parts of the country (1995-2000); monitoring of water quality in areas surrounding Yasuni National Park (1998-2001); monitoring of mammalian species to determine the degree of impact of deforestation in areas of settlement adjoining Yasuni National Park (1998-1999); delimitation of 32 kms and placement of signs showing indicative forest species within Yasuni National Park and Mache Chindul Reserve, in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment (1999-2001); and the provision of support for land tenure conflict resolution in Yasuni National Park and Mache Chindul Reserve whereby 25 communities with more than 180,000 hectares benefited (1996-2001).
Aohanqi Chifeng City of Inner Mongolia
Located in the semi-arid area at the southern edge of the sandy region of Keerqin in Northern China, Aohanqi was seriously threatened by desertification due to the irrational use of natural resources.
Since the 1970s, large-scale environment-friendly construction has been undertaken. In the 1980s, Aohanqi Chifeng City adopted an ecosystem approach to land and resource management with an emphasis on ecosystem restoration, particularly reforestation of the hilly areas of the southern part of the County, agro-forestry in the central part and grassland protection in the north. The County has established effective mechanisms and related policies, which benefit farmers who support this approach.
After 30 years of hard work and commitment, the forest cover has reached 43.5% with 8,000 hectares of grass planted. About 381,300 hectares of small river catchments have been managed in an integrated way and 65% of soil erosion is under control. Fourteen nature reserves have been created covering 12% of the County. Movable sand dunes have been reduced to 6,000 hectares from 38,000 hectares 30 years ago. Soil erosion has decreased to 2,500 tons/km²/year from more than 5,000/km²/year, thus reducing the number of windy days by 22 days and increasing the ground water table by one metre.
Today, Aohanqi Chifeng City ranks first among the areas in China in terms of afforestation and grass planting. Food production has increased eight-fold since the 1970s, and the 1.6 billion GDP has increased 10-fold since that time. In addition, annual per capita income is 16 times more than what it was in the 1970s.
Aohanqi Chifeng City has become a model in desertification treatment in the semi-arid parts of northern China, and it was the first to be nominated as a National Ecological Demonstration Area by the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) of China.
Amazon Conservation Team - (ACT)
The Amazon Conservation Team (ACT) is a creative and effective organization devoted to protecting native cultures and ecosystems in the American tropics.
ACT was founded in 1995 by a group of conservationists to address a pressing need for a new kind of environmental organization that would work in true partnership with indigenous peoples to preserve their ancient wisdom and cultures, as well as the lands that sustain them. These conservationists, from Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Suriname and the United States with centuries of field experience among them, have developed new and effective conservation strategies and programmes by combining western science and technology with tribal wisdom.
ACT's unique approach has added a much-needed complement to the work being done by larger, traditional environmental organizations. A cornerstone of the ACT approach is the Shaman's Apprentice Programme, whereby young members of indigenous tribes train with traditional shamans and other elders to become both the healers and environmental guardians of the next generation.
The most recent culmination of the ACT’s efforts was the second annual meeting of the most ancient and powerful shamans of the northwest Amazon (and their apprentices). At this unprecedented gathering, 42 shamans from seven tribes put aside their tribal differences and worked cooperatively to seize control of their environmental and cultural destinies, which they believe to be inextricably intertwined. ACT is working with these indigenous people and the Colombian Government to create a new category of protected area: Indigenous Reserves and Sacred Sites. The first 10,000-hectare site has already been established. In the northwest of the Amazon, ACT has partnered with the Tirio Indians to map their traditional homeland, an area of more than 20 million acres, and is helping them petition the Government for title to these lands. ACT is actively involved with these and other tribes to sustainably manage their forests for Brazil nuts and other non-timber products giving important economic value to ecosystem protection.
ACT is a powerful example of what can be accomplished by a small, dedicated team of people who share the same philosophy and vision. It is a model that should be replicated around the world.
Salle Pedagogique des Zones Arides
In 1998, to increase awareness of local water problems, the children of the Beni Abbes' Salle Pedagogique des Zones Arides in the southwest of the Algerian Sahara decided to carry out a survey on the problems of water and its management within households. The target group consisted of 500 families in Beni Abbes.
The results of the survey showed that there was significant wastage, with wastewater disposed of untreated, increasing wastewater volumes and possible pollution of the groundwater. The volume of wastewater that is not reused can be subtracted directly from the amount of spring water available for irrigation. When they assessed the results of the survey, these young people were led to think about the health risks from an increase in waterborne diseases from polluted water. With their teachers' backing, they decided to set up a small experimental lagoon system.
In December 1999, this was carried out with assistance from the Popular Communal Assembly, which enabled a water engineer to participate. The neighbouring 'fellahin', who saw production in their plots increase, became partners in the project. When faced with problems in cleaning out the first basin, the young people succeeded in raising the awareness of the people whose wastewater was going into it so that they selectively screened out oils. A film Nest of Nurseries was shot telling the story of how the lagoon system was born, in the context of preparations for the international exhibition in Hanover, Germany with the help of ENTV (Algerian Television).
The children passed on the message that saving water is vital. Feedback has been set up between the young people and the families surveyed, which has enhanced the value of the club. The need for co-operation with all social partners has been taken on board. In 2002, the lagoon system was a focus for public awareness raising and information for the people of Beni Abbes and for schools in neighbouring oases.
Women Environment Preservation Committee - (WEPCO)
The Women Environment Preservation Comittee (WEPCO) is a non-profit organization established in 1992 by a group of housewives from Lalitpur in response to a growing awareness that the environment in the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal was in danger.
The growing volume of waste caused by increasing population and excessive consumption is one of the most urgent problems in the City of Kathmandu. As a result, WEPCO has made 'disorganized garbage' its priority.
WEPCO's goal is to enable the people of Kathmandu to have a clean and healthy environment through the initiatives of local women and students. The bulk of waste generated by households is kitchen waste. In Nepal most kitchen work is done by women. Women decide what, when and where to throw garbage.
WEPCO has completed more than 100 training sessions on environmental awareness among community women and schools. It has several women's environment groups working in Lalitpur Sub-Metropolitan City. WEPCO has formed 90 clubs in schools, involving more than 6,000 students in six districts. Students of eco-clubs help create awareness of household waste management in their communities.
WEPCO, which collects and manages garbage from more than 3,000 households from Lalitpur, has proved that using the three "R" principle (reduce, reuse and recycle) at the community level can control waste pollution problems in an urban municipality. WEPCO established demonstration sites for paper recycling and organic and vermin compost and has supported many households to start their own composting.
WEPCO has a staff of 15 women and 10 men who are supported through the sale of recycled paper and garbage collection services. WEPCO is involved at the policy level to promote advocacy against the burning of waste, and teh expansion of waste management at the community level.
Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association - (BELA)
Feeling the urgent need for an advocacy group to monitor and pursue the implementation of laws and regulations to protect the environment, a goup of young lawyers initiated the Bangladesh Environmental lawyers Association (BELA) in 1991.
Over the years, BELA has become a true pressure group against environmental violations. BELA's research has played a significant role in popularizing the environment amongst the general public. Opposed to aggressive advocacy, BELA has helped sensitize various actors by raising environmental awareness. It approaches each organization as a co-actor and emphasizes the need for joint action.
A model for training and sensitizing professionals and the public was adopted by the organization that presently organizes such programmes with lawyers, NGO workers, government officials, teachers, journalists, students, and representatives of local government. BELA is the only organization that arranges special workshops exclusively for judicial officers.
With 60% of the total population in Bangladesh estimated at having no access to justice, BELA is considered a pioneer in public interest environmental litigation (PIEL). As an environmental organization, it has to date filed 38 cases of which 12 have been decided in favour of the cause while the rest are pending.
Other major achievements of BELA include: opening up of PIEL in Bangladesh; recognition of 'right to life' as part of constitutional 'right to life'; directive judgements in mitigating industrial pollution and vehicular pollution; addressing payment of environmental compensation in development projects; river encroachment; and unlawful filling of flood plain zones.
Other activities undertaken by BELA in Bangladesh include: research into legal documents to minimize the gap between provisions of law and people's expectations, including laws on compensation; on regulating environment and customs on forests and intellectual property rights.
BELA produces a quarterly newsletter in English and Bengali on major environmental issues and laws, as well as Sangsad Sangbad - a bulletin that covers the proceedings of the Pariliament on environmental issues and the law making process.
BELA is an active member of IUCN, the Environmental Lawyers Alliance Worldwide (ELAW), Health Care Without Harm (HCWH), South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics and Environment (SAWTEE), and the Coalition of Environmental NGO's in Bangladesh (CEN).