International NGOs, regional organizations and their initiatives related to environment conservation

International NGOs

Global Footprint Network

Established When: In 2003, Mathis Wackernagel, PhD, and Susan Burns founded Global Footprint Network.

Headquarter: California, USA

Objective of the body: Global Footprint Network’s goal is to create a future where all humans can live well, within the means of one planet Earth.

Key Functions:  

  • It develops and promotes tools for advancing sustainability, including the ecological footprint and biocapacity, which measure the amount of resources we use and how much we have.
  • These tools aim at bringing ecological limits to the center of decision-making.

India specific trivia: India ranks 164, acording to Ecological Footprint data by Global Footprint Network.


Green Cross International

Established When and by Whom: It was founded by former Soviet Union President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mikhail Gorbachev in 1993.

Headquarter: GCI is headquartered in Geneva.

Objective of the body:  It is working to address the inter-connected global challenges of security, poverty eradication and environmental degradation through a combination of advocacy and local projects.

Key Functions:

To achieve its objective GCI:

  • Promote legal, ethical and behavioural norms that ensure basic changes in the values, actions and attitudes of government, the private sector and civil society, necessary to develop a sustainable global community
  • Contribute to the prevention and resolution of conflicts arising from environmental degradation.
  • Provide assistance to people affected by the environmental consequences of wars, conflicts and man made calamities.



Established When and by Whom: Greenpeace was founded by Irving Stowe and Dorothy Stowe, Canadian and US ex-pat environmental activists in 1971.

Headquarter: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Objective of the body: Greenpeace states its goal is to “ensure the ability of the Earth to nurture life in all its diversity”.

Key Functions:

  • Greenpeace focuses its campaigning on worldwide issues such as climate change, deforestation, overfishing, commercial whaling, genetic engineering, and anti-nuclear issues.
  • It uses , lobbying, research, and ecotage to achieve its goals
  • Greenpeace is known for its direct actions and has been described as the most visible environmental organization in the world.

India specific trivia: Greenpeace India was founded in 2001, and is a legally registered society with offices in Chennai, Delhi,  Bengaluru and Patna.


International Network for Sustainable Energy(INFORSE)

Established When and by Whom: INFORSE was established in 1992 at the Global Forum, which was a parallel forum to the UNCED Conference so called Earth Summit.

Headquarter: Denmark

Objective: It is a  network of environmental organizations promoting sustainable energy to protect the environment and to decrease poverty.

Key Functions:

Develops scenarios for a transition to a 100% renewables energy supply with factor four energy efficiency by 2050. A global, EU-27 and European national scenarios are developed. The name of the sustainable energy model is INFORSE Vision 2050.

Participation on UN Conferences as NGO observer as INFORSE has Consultative Status at UN ECOSOC and UNFCCC.


Project GreenWorld International

Established When and by Whom: It is founded by a student at Indian School, Salalah, Hridith Sudev (then aged 12), and his younger brother Samved Shaji (then aged 7), in 2012.

Headquarter: Salalah, Dhofar, Oman

Objective: Turn degraded lands green again. Raise the living standards of the rural poor. Combat climate change. Create holistic ways to work for the health of our shared biosphere and the harmony of our global village.

Key Functions:

  • The GWC connects those who want to help create a more sustainable world with on-the-ground projects that benefit people and planet.
  • It focusses on providing ecological and social benefits where they’re most needed.
  • It seek out effective grassroots partners, then finding the simplest, most direct ways we can all contribute to their success.
  • Its work centers around tree-planting.
  • It allies with local experts who best know the problems and opportunities in their country. Their trusted, ground-level partners work with villagers who are motivated to work for the benefits our programs bring.
  • Contributions from the GWC get planted right in the ground. We always learn from our partners, and collaborate with them on creative solutions.

India specific trivia: PGWI’s Indian wing, the Project GreenIndia was founded On 17 July 2016 in Vatakara Municipality of Kerala, India. Various tree plantation drives, summer camps and cleanup campaigns mark their activity.


Rainforest Alliance

Established When and by Whom: It was founded in 1987 by Daniel Katz.

Headquarter: USA

Objective: It is working to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices and consumer behavior.

Key Functions:

  • The Rainforest Alliance launched the world’s first sustainable forestry certification program in 1989 to encourage market-driven and environmentally and socially responsible management of forests, tree farms, and forest resources.
  • The organization verifies carbon offset projects to standards that address greenhouse gas sequestration, biodiversity conservation and sustainable livelihoods.
  • The Rainforest Alliance’s sustainable agriculture program includes training programs for farmers and the certification of small, medium and large farms that produce more than 100 different crops, including avocado, cattle, cinnamon, coffee, palm oil, and potatoes, as well as tea, cocoa, and bananas.
  • The organization launched a sustainable tourism program in 2000 and provides small- and medium-sized tourism businesses in Latin America with training and tools to minimize their impacts on the environment and local communities.


Society for the Environment (SocEnv)

Established When and by Whom:  SocEnv attained Royal Chartered status on 6 May 2004 and issued the first licenses to enable the award of Chartered Environmentalist in September 2004.

Headquarter: England

Objective: The Society aspires to be the leading and coordinating body for professionals working in sustainability and environmental matters and a pre-eminent champion of a sustainable environment.

Key Functions:  It is an umbrella body that can license its member institutions to confer chartered status on sustainability and environmental professionals worldwide.


The Climate Reality Project

Established When and by Whom: The Alliance for Climate Protection was founded in 2006 by Al Gore to encourage civic action against climate change.

Headquarter: Washington, D.C., U.S.

Objective: The Climate Reality Project is a non-profit organization focused on climate change education and countering climate change denial campaigns worldwide.

Key Functions:

  • In 2013, The Climate Reality Project released the Reality Drop tool, a news aggregator that collects online news stories about climate change.
  • The Climate Reality Project also addresses climate change through a network of approximately 10,000 grassroots Climate Reality Leaders, which the organization calls the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

India specific trivia: Approximately 50 principals from government schools falling under the Department of Education, Government of Uttarakhand participated in the conclave. The event was organized in partnership with The Climate Reality Project India, UNESCO, New Delhi and HaritaDhara Research Development and Education Foundation (HRDEF).


Traffic (conservation programme)

Established When and by Whom: It was founded in 1976 as a strategic alliance of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Headquarter: Cambridge, UK

Objective: The organization’s aim is to ‘ensure that trade in wild plants and animals is not a threat to the conservation of nature’.

Key Functions:

  • It is the leading non-governmental organization working globally on the trade of wild animals and plants in the context of both biodiversity and sustainable development.
  • It promotes sustainable wildlife trade (the green stream work) and combats wildlife crime and trafficking (the red stream work).
  • TRAFFIC’s work involves research, publication of influential reports, projects, education, outreach and advocacy on the issue of wildlife trade.


Wetlands International

Established When and by Whom: Founded in 1937 as the International Wildfowl Inquiry the organisation was focused on the protection of waterbirds as part of the British section.

Later, the name became International Waterfowl & Wetlands Research Bureau (IWRB).

Headquarter: Netherlands

Objective: Its mission is to sustain and restore wetlands, their resources, and biodiversity.

Key Functions:

  • Wetlands International’s work ranges from research and community-based field projects to advocacy and engagement with governments, corporate and international policy fora and conventions.
  • Wetlands International works through partnerships and is supported by contributions from an extensive specialist expert network and tens of thousands of volunteers.

India specific trivia: In the Himalaya Mountains the organization works to restore wetlands to reduce the impacts of glacier melt and precipitation extremes on densely populated regions downstream India, China and Bangladesh.


Wildlife Conservation Society

Established When and by Whom: WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) was founded in 1895 as the New York Zoological Society (NYZS).

Headquarter: USA

Objective: To save wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature.

Key Functions:

  • Currently works to conserve more than two million square miles of wild places around the world.
  • Today WCS is at work on some 500 projects in more than 60 nations around the world that are intended to help protect both wildlife and the wild places in which they live.
  • The organization endeavors to protect 25 percent of the world’s biodiversity—from the gorillas of Africa and the tigers of Asia to macaws in South America and the sharks, whales and turtles traveling through the planet’s seas.

India specific trivia: Wildlife Conservation Society – India Program describes the work of several partner institutions engaged in saving wildlife and wild lands in full compliance with all Indian laws.

WCS – India Program mission has combined cutting-edge research on tigers and other wildlife, with national capacity building and effective site-based conservation through constructive collaborations with governmental and non-governmental partners.

Uncompromisingly committed to wildlife conservation, WCS – India Program inspires and nurtures positive attitude towards nature in people through its scientific and conservation endeavors.


World Resources Institute

Established When and by Whom:  It was established in 1982 with funding from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation under the leadership of James Gustave Speth

Headquarter: USA

Objective: To move human society to live in ways that protect earth’s environment and its capacity to provide for the needs and aspirations of current and future generations.

Key Functions: WRI’s activities are focused on six areas: climate; energy; food; forests; water; and sustainable cities.

India specific trivia: WRI established its India office in 2011. It  works with leaders in business, government, and civil society to expand clean energy development, combat climate change, and develop sustainable transport solutions.


World Wide Fund for Nature

Established When: It was founded in 1969.

Headquarter: Switzerland

Objective: Its mission is to conserve nature and reduce the most pressing threats to the diversity of life on Earth.

Key Functions:

  • It is the world’s largest conservation organization with over five million supporters worldwide, working in more than 100 countries, supporting around 1,300.
  • The living planet report is published every two years by WWF since 1998, it is based on living planet index and ecological footprint calculation.
  • Currently, much of its work concentrates on the conservation of three biomes that contain most of the world’s biodiversity: oceans and coasts, forests, and freshwater ecosystems.
  • Among other issues, it is also concerned with endangered species, sustainable production of commodities and climate change.

Funding:  WWF is a foundation, with 55% of funding from individuals and bequests, 19% from government sources (such as the World Bank, DFID, USAID) and 8% from corporations in 2014.

India specific trivia: Established as a Charitable Trust on 27 November, 1969, WWF-India set out with the aim of reducing the degradation of Earth’s natural environment and building a future in which humans live in harmony with nature.

In 1987, the organization changed it’s name from the World Wildlife Fund to World Wide Fund for Nature-India. With close to five decades of extensive work in the sector, WWF-India today is one of the leading conservation organizations in the country.


Bioversity International

Established When and by Whom: Bioversity International was originally established by the CGIAR( Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research) as the International Board for Plant Genetic Resources (IBPGR) in 1974.

Headquarter: Maccarese, Rome

Objective of the body: Bioversity International is a global research-for-development organization with a vision – that agricultural biodiversity nourishes people and sustains the planet.

Key Functions:

  • It delivers scientific evidence, management practices and policy options to use and safeguard agricultural and tree biodiversity to attain sustainable global food and nutrition security.
  • It works with partners in low-income countries in different regions where agricultural and tree biodiversity can contribute to improved nutrition, resilience, productivity and climate change adaptation.

India specific trivia: The international status of Bioversity International is conferred under an Establishment Agreement and it is also signed by India.


BirdLife International

Established When and by Whom:  BirdLife International was founded as in 1922 the International Council for Bird Preservation by American ornithologists T. Gilbert Pearson and Jean Theodore Delacour under the name International Committee for Bird Protection.

The group was renamed International Committee for Bird Preservation in 1928, International Council for Bird Preservation in 1960, and BirdLife International in 1994.

Headquarter: Cambridge, United Kingdom

Objective of the body: It promotes the conservation of birds and their habitats.

Key Functions:

  • It is a global partnership of conservation organisations that strives to conserve birds, their habitats and global biodiversity, working with people towards sustainability in the use of natural resources
  • BirdLife International’s priorities include preventing extinction of bird species, identifying and safeguarding important sites for birds, maintaining and restoring key bird habitats, and empowering conservationists worldwide

India specific trivia: Last year, the BirdLife International has recorded that 11 water bird species of Kerala come under the IUCN Red list threatened categories with the black bellied tern being one of the ‘Endangered’ waterbird species in Kerala.


Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL)

Established When and by Whom: It is operating since 2007. And founded by Marshall Saunders.

Headquarter: USA

Objective of the body: The goal of CCL is to build political support across party lines to put a price on carbon, specifically a revenue neutral carbon fee and dividend (CF&D) at the national level.

Key Functions: It trains and supports volunteers to build relationships with their elected representatives in order to influence climate policy. 

India specific trivia: CCL also have an active group in India.


Climate Action Network

Headquarter: Beirut, Lebanon

Objective:  Working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels.

Key Functions:

  • CAN members work to achieve their objective through information exchange and the coordinated development of NGO strategy on international, regional, and national climate issues.
  • CAN has regional network hubs that coordinate these efforts around the world.
  • It is most active at meetings of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), where it publishes a daily newsletter “ECO”, (presenting the views of the Environmental NGO community)

India specific trivia:

Under the CAN

  • The Indian Youth Climate Network (IYCN) is a network of young people in 18 states who are concerned about climate change & environment issues.
  • Started in 2008, IYCN was registered as a society in 2009 with representation from 8 states of India and today IYCN has 19 chapters in different states and offices in 7 locations with outreach to thousands of youth in colleges, schools, corporations and institutions in India.
  • The purpose of IYCN is to bring the voice of Indian youth on the global platform as South Asia is one of the most vulnerable regions affected by potentially catastrophic climate change & environment issues.
  • IYCN provides technical, financial and administrative support to increase youth participation in protection of the environment of India as well as establish consensus on what role India should play in the global debate of climate change.


Conservation International

Established When and by Whom: Founded by Spencer Beebe and Peter Seligmann in 1987

Headquarter: USA

Objective of the body: Its goal is to protect nature as a source of food, fresh water, livelihoods and a stable climate.

Key Functions:

  • CI’s work focuses on science, policy, and partnership with businesses and communities
  • The foundation of CI’s work is “science, partnership and field demonstration.”
  • The organization has scientists, policy workers and other conservationists on the ground in more than 30 countries. It also relies heavily on thousands of local partners.
  • CI aims to make the protection of nature a key consideration in economic development decisions around the world
  • The organization has been active in United Nations discussions on issues such as climate change and biodiversity, and its scientists present at international conferences and workshops.


Earth Charter Initiative

Established When: In 2000

Headquarter: USA

Objective of the body: The stated mission of the Earth Charter Initiative is to promote the transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework that includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace.

Key Functions:

  • To promote development of a global network of Earth Charter supporters and activists with the collaboration of advisors, affiliates, partner organizations, and task forces.
  • To create and disseminate high quality communications and educational materials to different target groups that will reach millions of people.
  • To translate key Earth Charter materials in all major languages of the world.
  • To set up Earth Charter websites in all countries in partnership with key individuals and organizations.
  • To promote the Earth Charter vision in key local, national and international events and engage individuals and organizations in applying it in their areas of activity.
  • To position the Earth Charter in relation to important international initiatives and processes so that its ethical framework can be used as a guide in efforts to address urgent challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss, the Millennium Development Goals, food security, and conflict resolution.
  • To undertake training programmes to facilitate the uptake and application of the Earth Charter in different sectors.
  • To develop the guidance and instruments to help organizations, businesses, and local communities use the Earth Charter to assess progress toward sustainable development.


Earth Day Network  

Headquarter: USA

Objective of the body: Earth Day Network’s mission is to diversify, educate and activate the environmental movement worldwide.

Key Functions:

  • Earth Day events in more than 193 countries are now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network
  • EDN works to broaden the definition of “environment” to include issues that affect our health and our communities, such as greening deteriorated schools, creating green jobs and investment, and promoting activism to stop air and water pollution.

India specific trivia: Earth Day Network has made significant inroads across India and now has a permanent Indian Program – EDN India – located in Kolkata.


Environmental Defense Fund

Established When and by Whom:  The organization’s founders, includes Art Cooley, George Woodwell, Charles Wurster, Dennis Puleston, Victor Yannacone and Robert Smolker. It was founded in 1967.

Headquarter: USA

Objective:  EDF aims to reduce the pollution and slow global warming, with strategies including overhauling U.S. energy systems, protecting the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s limits on pollution, training new climate/energy leaders, and slowing deforestation in Brazil and the Amazon rainforest.

Key Functions:

  • It is basically nonprofit environmental advocacy group.
  • The group is known for its work on issues including global warming, ecosystem restoration, oceans, and human health, and advocates using sound science, economics and law to find environmental solutions that work.
  • It is nonpartisan, and its work often advocates market-based solutions to environmental problems.


Fauna and Flora International

Established When and by Whom: FFI was founded in 1903 as the Society for the Preservation of the Wild Fauna of the Empire by a group of British naturalists and American statesmen in Africa.

It later became the Fauna Preservation Society, before being renamed Fauna and Flora Preservation Society in 1981.

Headquarter: Cambridge, UK

Objective of the body: Conservation charity

Key Functions:

FFI has a seven-step approach to conserving biodiversity:

  • Building local capacity for conservation
  • Integrating biodiversity and human needs
  • Direct protection of species and habitats
  • Securing land for conservation
  • Emergency response to conservation needs
  • Influencing policy and the practice of conservation
  • Bridging the gap between business and biodiversity

In line with its seven-step approach to conservation, Fauna & Flora International has endorsed the Forests Now Declaration, which calls for new market based mechanisms to protect tropical forests.

India specific trivia: Last year, Fauna & Flora International (FFI), has contributed to the discovery of a previously undescribed species of evergreen tree in one of India’s most iconic natural landscapes.


Regional Organizations

European Environment Agency (EEA)

Established When and by Whom:  The EEA was established by the European Economic Community (EEC) became operational in 1994

Headquarter: It is headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Objective of the body: The EEA’s mandate is:

  • To help the Community and member and cooperating countries make informed decisions about improving the environment, integrating environmental considerations into economic policies and moving towards sustainability
  • To coordinate the European environment information and observation network

Key Functions:

  • The European environment information and observation network (Eionet) is a partnership network of the EEA and the countries.
  • The EEA is responsible for developing the network and coordinating its activities.
  • To do so, the EEA works closely together with national focal points, typically national environment agencies or environment ministries.
  • They are responsible for coordinating national networks involving many institutions (about 350 in all).

India specific trivia: No official relationship

Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA)

Established When and by Whom:  It is a regional partnership programme implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and executed by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS).

The project, started in 1994, was originally known as Prevention and Management of Marine Pollution in the East Asian Seas (SDS-SEA).

Headquarter: Quezon City, Philippines

Objective of the body: Marine and Coastal Areas Environmental Management

Key Functions:

  • It aims to proactively build effective intergovernmental and intersectoral partnerships and expand the capacities of countries and other stakeholders with innovative, cross-cutting policies, tools and services for integrated coastal and ocean management.
  • PEMSEA applies integrated coastal management (ICM) as our primary approach for generating and sustaining healthy oceans, people and economies.  

Funding:  UN


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By B2B

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