[E&B Bodies #6] Centre for Science and Environment


  • The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) is a public interest research and advocacy organisation based in New Delhi
  • CSE researches into, lobbies for and communicates the urgency of development that is both sustainable and equitable
  • Established in 1980, CSE works as a think tank on environment-development issues in India, poor planning, climate shifts devastating India’s Sundarbans and advocates for policy changes and better implementation of the already existing policies
  • The Director of CSE is Sunita Narain who is named among the 100 most influential persons by The Time Magazine



  • The scenario today demands using knowledge to bring about change. In other words, working India’s democracy
  • Thus the aim of CSE is to raise concerns, participate in seeking answers and more importantly, in pushing for answers and transforming these into policy and so practice
  • CSE does this through its research and by communicating the understanding through its publications. This is called knowledge-based activism

Two-pronged challenge of balance:

On the one hand, millions live within a biomass based subsistence economy, at the margins of survival. The environment is their only natural asset. But a degraded environment means stress on land, water and forest resources for survival. It means increasing destitution and poverty. Here, opportunity to bring about change is enormous. But it will need a commitment to reform, a structural reform, in the way we do business with local communities

On the other hand, rapid industrialization is throwing up new problems: growing toxification and a costly disease burden. The answers will be in reinventing the growth model of the Western world for ourselves, so that we can leapfrog technology choices and find new ways of building wealth that will not cost us the earth

CSE’s efforts are built around five broad programmes:

#1. Communication for Awareness

  • CSE’s publications and informational products have been its strength and they have always combined research and readability to get the message across
  • CSE’s tools for awareness raising are periodicals, publications, films/short spots, briefing papers, exhibitions, posters and other products
  • CSE’s informational products reach people in more diverse ways such as features service, website and e-news bulletins

#2. Research and Advocacy

  • CSE’s efforts are specifically designed to create awareness about problems and propose sustainable solutions
  • Research at CSE often consists of in-depth learning about an environmental problem and then finding answers in accordance with CSE’s core values

#3. Education and Training

  • There is a growing interest amongst professionals, public administrators, private sector executives NGO professionals, students and others in environmental issues
  • With this in mind, CSE, has for some years, been developing programmes in the area on non-formal environmental education programmes

#4. Knowledge Portal

  • The overall aim is to develop into an excellent resource centre with information — printed and visual — on sustainable development issues, which is possibly the best in India
  • For a knowledge-based organisation like CSE, information collection is the basic foundation for all its research and advocacy activities

#5. Pollution Monitoring

CSE’s Pollution Monitoring Laboratory is an independent, analytical laboratory that monitors toxic contamination of the environment and uses the results of this monitoring to advocate for improved regulation of the use of toxins in the country

Published with inputs from Swapnil
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