International organizations related to environment conservation

02nd June 2021

Earth System Governance Project (ESGP)

Established When and by Whom:  Developed under the auspices of the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change. It started in January 2009.

Headquarter: The Earth System Governance Project Office is hosted at Lund University, Sweden.

Key Functions:

The Earth System Governance Project aims to contribute to science on the large, complex challenges of governance in an era of rapid and large-scale environmental change. 

The project seeks to create a better understanding of the role of institutions, organizations and governance mechanisms by which humans regulate their relationship with the natural environment

The Earth System Governance Project aims to integrate governance research at all levels. The project aims to examine problems of the ‘global commons’, but also local problems from air pollution to the preservation of waters, waste treatment or desertification and soil degradation

However, due to natural interdependencies local environmental pollution can be transformed into changes of the global system that affect other localities. Therefore, the Earth System Governance Project looks at institutions and governance processes both local and globally

The Earth System Governance Project is a scientific effort, but also aims to assist policy responses to the pressing problems of earth system transformation


Global Environment Facility (GEF)

Established When and by Whom: The Global Environment Facility was established in October 1991 as a $1 billion pilot program in the World Bank to assist in the protection of the global environment and to promote environmental sustainable development.

Headquarter: Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America

Key Functions:

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) unites 183 countries in partnership with international institutions, civil society organizations (CSOs), and the private sector to address global environmental issues while supporting national sustainable development initiatives.

Today the GEF is the largest public funder of projects to improve the global environment.

An independently operating financial organization, the GEF provides grants for projects related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer, and persistent organic pollutants.

Funding: The GEF also serves as the financial mechanism for the following conventions:

  • Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
  • United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
  • UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)
  • Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)
  • Minamata Convention on Mercury

India specific trivia:

*India has formed a permanent Constituency in the Executive Council of the GEF together with Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal and Maldives. 

The Council Meetings are held semi-annually or as frequently necessary. At each meeting, the Council elects a Chairperson from among its members for the duration of that meeting. India’s Executive Director in the World Bank represents the GEF Council from our Constituency.

India is both a donor and a recipient of GEF. It has been a leading developing country participant in the GEF since its inception in 1991 and has played a major role in shaping the restructuring of the GEF. It had contributed US $ 6.0 million to the core fund in the GEF Pilot Phase.

India has pledged an amount of US $ 9.0 million towards the resources of each of the Five GEF replenishments. The total funds pledged so far amounts to US$ 51 million and an amount of US$ 48.75 million has been paid by December 2012 towards GEF replenishments.

Ministry of Finance is the political focal point while Ministry of Environment & Forests is the Operational Focal Point for the GEF Projects.


Global Green Growth Institute

Established When and by Whom: GGGI was first launched as a think tank in 2010 by Korean President Lee Myung-bak, and was later converted into an international treaty-based organization in 2012 at the Rio+20 Summit in Brazil.

Headquarter: It is headquartered in Seoul, Republic of Korea

Key Functions: GGGI works to produce three major outcomes: adoption and implementation of green growth plans; provision of research for policymakers; and private sector engagement in the implementation of the national green growth plans. The organization uses three approaches to achieve these outcomes: Green Growth Planning & Implementation (GGP&I), Knowledge Development & Management (KDM), and Public-Private Cooperation (PPC).

Funding: Funds are given by Contributing members. Contributing members are defined as Member countries that make a multi-year financial contribution of core funding of no less than USD 15 million over three years. Participating members are defined as Member countries that are not contributing members.

India specific trivia:

GGGI has been working in India to promote green growth and sustainable development since 2013.

GGGI has worked at national, state, and city levels to develop and implement green growth strategies that reconcile short-term priorities with long-term vision of higher economic growth, environmental sustainability, and social inclusion

At the state level, GGGI worked closely with the governments of Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh (HP), and Punjab to develop comprehensive green growth strategies together with each.

GGGI also supported each of the three state governments in adopting integrated analytical approaches to assess green growth challenges and prioritize opportunities across key sectors, including energy, water, agriculture, and forestry

Building on these strategies, in 2015, GGGI supported the state governments in implementing specific green growth opportunities by formulating detailed project proposals, policy implementation roadmaps, and capacity building initiatives.


KIMO (Local Authorities International Environmental Organisation)

Established When and by Whom: KIMO was founded in August 1990 by four municipalities and from this modest start has grown in size to represent over 70 members in Belgium, Denmark, The Faroe Islands, Germany, The Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Headquarter: Esbjerg, Denmark

Key Functions:

  • KIMO is committed to the development of sustainable coastal communities by:
  • Preventing pollution of the seas and coastal waters of North Western Europe and preserving, improving and enhancing them for future generations
  • Protecting coastal communities from the impacts of marine pollution and climate change.
  • Representing its member local authorities and associated members at an international and national level.


Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

Established When and by Whom:   It was first established in 1988 by two United Nations organizations, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and later endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly.

Headquarter: Geneva, Switzerland

Key Functions:

  • The IPCC produces reports that support the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
  • IPCC reports cover all relevant information to understand the risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation.
  • The IPCC does not carry out its own original research.
  • Thousands of scientists and other experts contribute on a voluntary basis.
  • The 2007 Nobel Peace Prize was shared, in two equal parts, between the IPCC and an American Environmentalist.

The aims of the IPCC are to assess scientific information relevant to:

  1. Human-induced climate change,
  2. The impacts of human-induced climate change,
  3. Options for adaptation and mitigation.

Funding: The IPCC receives funding through the IPCC Trust Fund, established in 1989 by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

India specific trivia: India will have its own climate change models to project the impact of global warming over the decades and these will form part of the forthcoming Sixth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Reports that is expected to be available in 2020.


International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

Established When and by Whom: The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organisation.

Founded in 1948, today IUCN the largest professional global conservation network. IUCN has more than 1,200 member organizations including 200+ government and 900+ non-government organizations.

Headquarter: The Union’s headquarters are located in Gland, near Geneva, in Switzerland.

Key Functions: Conserving biodiversity is central to the mission of IUCN. The main areas of function are:

  1. Science  – the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™.
  2. Action – hundreds of conservation projects all over the world.
  3. Influence – through the collective strength of more than 1,200 government and non-governmental Member organizations.

Funding:  Funded by governments, bilateral and multilateral agencies, foundations, member organisations and corporations.

More about the IUCN

Governance by a Council elected by member organizations every four years at the IUCN World Conservation Congress.

Observer Status at the United Nations General Assembly.

India specific trivia:

  • India became a State Member of IUCN in 1969, through the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC).
  • The IUCN India Country Office was established in 2007 in New Delhi.
  • IUCN India works with Members and Commissions to reduce ecosystem and species loss by providing the necessary tools and knowledge to value, conserve and use biodiversity sustainability; enhance governance and policy for better management of ecosystems and habitats, including protected areas; and address challenges related to poverty alleviation, food security and climate change.  


United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

Established When and by Whom: It was founded as a result of the UN Conference on the Human Environment (Stockholm Conference) in 1972

Headquarter: Nairobi, Kenya

Key Functions:

  • It coordinates UN’s environmental activities, assisting developing countries in implementing environmentally sound policies and practices.
  • Its activities cover a wide range of issues regarding the atmosphere, marine and terrestrial ecosystems, environmental governance and green economy.
  • UNEP has also been active in funding and implementing environment related development projects
  • UNEP has aided in the formulation of guidelines and treaties on issues such as the international trade in potentially harmful chemicals, transboundary air pollution, and contamination of international waterways
  • UNEP is also one of several Implementing Agencies for the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol
  • The International Cyanide Management Code, a program of best practice for the chemical’s use at gold mining operations, was developed under UNEP’s aegis.

Funding:  The three main sources of funding of UN Environment are the UN Regular Budget, the Environment Fund, the core funding that enables UN Environment to implement its global and regional work, and Earmarked Contributions.

India specific trivia: UN Environment has sponsored the development of solar loan programs, with attractive return rates, to buffer the initial deployment costs and entice consumers to consider and purchase solar PV systems.

The most famous example is the solar loan program sponsored by UN Environment helped 100,000 people finance solar power systems in India.

Success in India’s solar program has led to similar projects in other parts of the developing world like Tunisia, Morocco, Indonesia and Mexico.


World Nature Organization (WNO)

Established When and by Whom:  WNO initiative was born in 2010 by states which are threatened by rising sea levels. The WNO Treaty officially entered into force on 1st May 2014.

Location : Geneva

Key Functions:

  • It is an intergovernmental organisation which promotes global environmental protection.
  • WNO acts as a centre of competence for environmental protection, green technologies and sustainability, and as a mediator and initiator, making available experience of practical applications and strategies, offering support on all issues related to responsible conduct as regards the natural environment and its resources and assisting States to benefit from efficient development and from scientific and technology transfer.
  • The World Nature Organization  promotes sustainable conduct as regards the natural environment, together with new, environments-friendly technologies, green economies and renewable energies.

India specific trivia: India is not a member

World Food Programme

Established When and by Whom:  The WFP was formally established in 1963 by the FAO and the United Nations General Assembly.

Headquarter: Rome

Key Functions:

  • The WFP strives to eradicate hunger and malnutrition, with the ultimate goal in mind of eliminating the need for food aid itself.
  • WFP’s efforts focus on emergency assistance, relief and rehabilitation, development aid and special operations.  
  • WFP food aid is also directed to fight micronutrient deficiencies, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, and combat disease, including HIV and AIDS.
  • WFP has coordinated the five-year Purchase for Progress (P4P) pilot project which assists smallholder farmers by offering them opportunities to access agricultural markets and to become competitive players in the marketplace.

Funding:  The WFP operations are funded by voluntary donations from world governments, corporations and private donors

India specific trivia: The World Food Programme has been working in India for over 50 years. In line with the developments in India, WFP has realigned its focus from a food aid provider to a catalytic partner to the Government of India, strengthening food-based social safety nets.


International Whaling Organization

Established When and by Whom:  The IWC was set up under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling which was signed in Washington DC on 2nd December 1946.


Key Functions:

  • The preamble to the Convention states that its purpose is to provide for the proper conservation of whale stocks and thus make possible the orderly development of the whaling industry.  
  • An integral part of the Convention is its legally binding ‘Schedule.’  The Schedule sets out specific measures that the IWC has collectively decided are necessary in order to regulate whaling and conserve whale stocks.
  • These measures include catch limits (which may be zero as it the case for commercial whaling) by species and area, designating specified areas as whale sanctuaries, protection of calves and females accompanied by calves, and restrictions on hunting methods. Unlike the Convention, the Schedule can be amended and updated when the Commission meets (a change requires at least three quarters majority agreement).
  • There are a number of reasons why changes to the Schedule may be necessary.  These include new information from the Scientific Committee, and variations in the requirements of aboriginal subsistence whalers.
  • The Commission also co-ordinates and, in several cases, funds conservation work on many species of cetacean. In addition to research, this includes building an international entanglement response capacity, working to prevent ship strikes, and establishment of Conservation Management Plans for key species and populations.  
  • The Commission has also adopted a Strategic Plan for Whalewatching to facilitate the further development of this activity in a way which is responsible and consistent with international best practice.

Funding:  Financial contributions from member governments form the IWC’s core income, but additional voluntary donations to support particular work programmes are generously made by non-governmental organisations (NGOs), industry bodies, and also by member governments.

India specific trivia: India is a Member


Bio-carbon Fund initiative

Established When and by Whom:  The BioCarbon Fund Initiative for Sustainable Forest Landscapes (ISFL) is a multilateral fund, supported by donor governments and managed by the World Bank. It is has been operational from 2013.

Headquarter: USA

Key Functions:

  • It seeks to promote reduced greenhouse gas emissions from the land sector, from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD+), and from sustainable agriculture, as well as smarter land-use planning, policies and practices.
  • The initiative will be managed by the BioCarbon Fund, a public-private program housed within the World Bank that mobilizes finance for activities that sequester or conserve carbon emissions in forest and agricultural systems.
  • The new Initiative for Sustainable Forest Landscapes seeks to scale up land-management practices across large landscapes, including improved livestock management, climate-smart agriculture, and sustainable forest management, with a focus on protecting forests and greening and securing supply chains.
  • It will engage a broader range of actors, including the private sector, initially through a portfolio of four to six programs in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Funding: Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States together committed $280 million – up to $135 million from Norway, $120 million from the U.K, and $25 million from the U.S. – as part of their efforts to slow climate change.


Arctic Council

Established When and by Whom: The Arctic Council was founded on the initiative of the Government of Finland in September 1989 where officials from the 8 Arctic Countries met in Rovaniemi, Finland, to discuss cooperative measures to protect the Arctic environment.

Headquarter: The location of the Secretariat was rotated biennially with the Chairmanship of the Arctic Council.

Key Functions:

The Arctic Council is an intergovernmental forum promoting cooperation, coordination, and interaction among the Arctic States, Arctic indigenous communities and other Arctic inhabitants on common Arctic issues, in particular on issues of sustainable development and environmental protection in the Arctic.

The main focus areas of the Arctic Council are:

  1. The Environment and climate change
  2. Bio-diversity
  3. Oceans
  4. The indigenous Arctic peoples

Funding: By member states

India specific trivia: India is an Observer State

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