ATREE contributes to policy outcomes by engaging with various actors around issues of conservation and sustainable development. These include policy makers, implementing agencies, local self-government, field practitioners, grassroots activists, advocacy groups, and the wider public.
The key reasons that make ATREE’s work pertinent to decision makers and to communities that work towards triggering change are:
- Acknowledgement of social factors
- Interactive and participatory methods of inclusion
- Networks with organizations – civil/ government – fulfilling similar objectives
ATREE uses research-based findings to enable discussions on environmental policy decisions through creating forums for policy dialogues with communities, researchers and public groups; providing strategic environmental policy perspectives that improve governance and civic-state relations and serve the interests of the rural poor; helping to institutionalize actions aimed at strengthening civil society's commitment and involvement in conservation; assisting communities in the conservation of natural resources, particularly water resources and biological diversity; developing decentralized, inclusive models of co-management of natural resources
Examples of diverse engagements with policy makers and stakeholder communities are given below:
- Participating in evaluative and review committees set up by the government
- ATREE faculty, Sharachchandra Lele, served on the MoEF-MoTA Joint Committee on implementation of Forest Rights Act, and forest governance in the country. Visit http://atree.org/fra_ffgov for the full story. Report by the 20-member National Forest Rights Act Committee (FRAC) is available at https://sites.google.com/site/fracommittee/home. Also read about ATREE’s continuing work on Rights, governance and conservation.
- Jagdish Krishnaswamy, Robert Chandran (Adjunct Fellow) and R. Prabhakar (Adjunct Senior Fellow) were members of a national level advisory to ensure transparency and efficiency in the implementation of CAMPA (Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority).
- ATREE is member of the governing council of the Karnataka State Council for Science and Technology.
- Dr. Harini Nagendra was part of the Committee for Reorganization of Botanical Survey of India and Zoological Survey of India.
- Providing inputs and comments to government plans and policies
- Example: ATREE’s participation as a member of the Working Group on Ecosystem Resilience, Biodiversity and Sustainable Livelihoods for the Twelfth Five-year Planning Commission, Environment and Forest Division, and Steering Committee, Environment, Forests and Wildlife and Animal Welfare. Click here for draft report.
- Jagdish Krishnaswamy is member of the National Tri-state Chambal Sanctuary Management and Coordination Committee set up by the MoEF.
- Conducting select appraisals and assessments
- ATREE, in collaboration with Nature Conservation Foundation and Wildlife Institute of India, provided the scientific basis that enabled the MoEF to propose World Natural Heritage site clusters in the Western Ghats. UNESCO used this technical report as part of its evaluation of the Western Ghats as a potential World Heritage Site. ATREE faculty enabled assessment by IUCN, through site visits and dialogue with researchers and communities. The Western Ghats were finally nominated as a World Natural Heritage site in 2012, six years after submission of the proposal. Promotion of the Western Ghats as a natural World Heritage Site will influence policies on conservation, sustainable development and resource extraction.
- Publishing policy briefs, or writing on policy through public media, examples of which are given below:
- Lele, S. and T. Jayaraman. 2011. Equity in the context of sustainable development. Note for UN-GSP, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, New Delhi.
- Kashyap, S.N and P. Seema. 2008. Conversion of agricultural land in Karnataka - a status paper, Bangalore: Sub-group VI on common lands of the committee on state agrarian relations and the unfinished task of land reforms land reforms.
- Pai, R., A.J. Hiremath and U. Kant. (eds). 2008. Rethinking forest fires. Proceedings of the national workshop on forest fires. 13-14 November, 2007, New Delhi. Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India. Also see story on the role of fire as a forest management tool at A Fiery History.
- Shanker, K., N. Namboothri, S. Rodriguez and A. Sridhar (eds). 2008. Beyond the tsunami: Social, ecological and policy analyses of coastal and marine systems on the mainland coast of India. Post-tsunami environment initiative report submitted to the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP/UNTRS, Chennai and ATREE, Bangalore, India, pp 397.
- Speaking/ writing in public fora, including through radio, television and newspapers
- Nitin Rai and Ashish Kothari. Biligiri Tiger Reserve: Include Soligas in conservation plan. Deccan Herald, Feb 2011.
- Hiremath, A. 2011. Alien species - Can they be stopped? In: The Hindu Survey of the Environment 2011
- Lele, S. 2011. Rethinking forest governance: Towards a perspective beyond JFM, the Godavarman case and FRA. In: The Hindu Survey of the Environment 2011
- Rai, N. 2011. Looking beyond Protected Areas to save species. In: The Hindu Survey of the Environment 2011
- Priyadarsanan Dharma Rajan and K.D. Prathapan. Water in a sieve. Down To Earth, 15 Oct. 2010.
- Kiran, M.C. and Jagdish Krishnaswamy. Western Ghats: biodiversity, endemism and conservation. World Heritage No. 56, June 2010. pp 40 - 43.
- Harini Nagendra, Maps, lakes and citizens, Seminar 613 – September, 2010
- Nachiket Kelkar and Jagdish Krishnaswamy. Keeping rivers alive, Seminar 613 – September, 2010
- Organizing discussions and seminars on important policy matters
- ATREE and Noragric, UMB, The Norwegian University of Life Sciences, organised a
policy dialogue on REDD+: Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Plus for an audience of policy makers, academics, media persons, NGO leaders and others at the India International Centre, Delhi on 14th July 2011.
- ATREE organized a national consultation on ‘Advancing the Science of Taxonomy in India for Biodiversity Conservation’ in February 2010, in which policies pertaining to education, access to biodiversity habitats and international collaborations were discussed. The recommendations were shared with the ministries of the Departments of Science and Technology and Environment and Forests. See report on the workshop published in Current Science http://www.ias.ac.in/currsci/25jul2010/157.pdf.
- ATREE invited partners and friends to a panel discussion on ‘Science in the Service of Society’. The discussion was led by Dr. M.S. Swaminathan of MSSRF, Chennai, Dr Amita Baviskar of the Institute of Economic Growth (IEG), New Delhi and Dr Vijay Raghavan, National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bangalore and held at ATREE, Bangalore, in March 2010.
- Involving key stakeholders in designing and providing feedback on major studies
- ATREE’s Vembanad Community Environmental Resource Centre organized a stakeholder workshop to provide feedback on Wetlands Conservation and Management Rules (2009) formulated by the state. Another workshop, involving key stakeholders, provided inputs for the draft of the Kerala Inland Fishery Bill, 2010, proposed by the Government of Kerala. Read about ATREE CERC recommendations to Draft Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2009, and the article on Debatable Wetlands Conservation and Management Rules.
- ATREE has worked with community members, civil organisations and the Forest Department to coalesce ideas on practical community based management regime of forested areas, as an alternative to top-down management regimes. A two-day workshop was held, organised by ATREE, VGKK, Kalpavriksh and Zilla Budakattu Girijana Abhivruddhi Sangha. BRT WLS is one of the first protected areas to be granted community forest rights, as of October 2011.
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