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Closing the Enforcement Gap: A community-led groundtruthing of the expansion of a National Highway in Uttara Kannada

Centre for Policy Research - Namati Environmental Justice Program,

In 2011, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) proposed the widening and upgrading of the existing National Highway (NH) 17, renaming it NH-66 in the process. It is mentioned in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report and in the Environmental Management Plan (EMP) that the construction of the highway will reduce traffic, fuel consumption…

Making the Law Count: Environment Justice Stories on Community Paralegal Work in India (Version 2)

Centre for Policy Research (CPR) - Namati Environmental Justice Program,

Across the world, poor communities bear a disproportionate burden of the environmental cost of development. Harmful projects such as polluting industrial units, municipal disposal sites or mining projects are usually situated close to poor neighborhoods. These communities grapple on a daily basis with environmental impacts which exposes them to toxic contamination, adversely affect their livelihoods…

Justice Policy Series, Part 1: Access to Justice

Open Government Partnership, Joseph Foti, Jessica Hickle, Maha Jweied,

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) provides an opportunity for government and civil society reformers to make government more transparent, participatory, and accountable. Working together, government and civil society co-create two-year action plans with concrete commitments across a broad range of issues that are then monitored by OGP’s Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM). Until recently, access to…

How to Register as a Social Enterprise in Bangladesh

Shaveena Anam,

This Legal Toolkit will assist new social entrepreneurs to navigate the registration process. Registration can be a lengthy and difficult battle which will come with a lot of responsibility. Once completed, you will have reporting obligations and will need to keep detailed financial records, provide an audit of accounts to the tax office, and set…

Measuring the Progress of Justice at the Grassroots in India: Civil Society’s Collaborative Role in Tracking SDG 16

GNLU Law & Society Review, Jane E. Schukoske,

This article discusses measuring progress towards justice in people’s everyday lives in India. United Nations (UN) member states adopted access to justice in the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) for the 2030 Agenda launched in 2016. SDG 16 commits nations to “[p]romote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development provide access to justice for all…

Sustainable Development Goal 16.9: ‘Legal Identity’ Nationality and Statelessness

Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion,

This booklet introduces key concepts that can be adopted by Legal identity practitioners to protect vulnerable and marginalized groups. It also explains flawed identity processes can cause and/ or perpetuate statelessness. Finally, it presents some strategies to help ensure statelessness is effectively addressed through inclusive and human rights based development policies on legal identity If…

Closing the Enforcement Gap: Groundtruthing of Environmental Violations in Bodai-Daldali, Chhattisgarh

Centre for Policy Research, Janabhivyakti, Oxfam India, Namati,

Bharat Aluminium Company Limited (BALCO), which is a Public Sector Undertaking, received an environmental clearance in 2003 for bauxite mining in the Kabirdham district of Chhattisgarh. Since the mine became operational in 2003, there have been studies and media reports which have highlighted instances of non-compliance of environmental safeguards. There have also been complaints by…

Female Genital Mutilation: Fact Sheet

iProbono,

iProbono is producing a series of fact sheets to provide basic information and clarify the law on some of the most serious concerns regarding violence against women and girls. The first fact sheet in the series is about Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). While our fact sheets aim to provide a global perspective, the focus of…

Using Legal Empowerment for Labour Rights in India

Rina Agarwala,

This resource comes from the Journal of Development Studies, 2019 Vol. 55, No. 3, 401–419. This paper brings labour back into the literature on legal empowerment against poverty. Employing a historical lens, I outline three waves of legal movements. Each wave is distinguished by its timing, the state-level target, and the actors involved. In all…

Closing the Enforcement Gap: Community-led Groundtruthing of Environmental Violations in Mormugao, Goa

Centre for Policy Research, Namati Environmental Justice Program,

The Mormugao Port is located at Vasco bay in the Mormugao taluka of Goa at the point where the Zuari river meets the Arabian Sea. This region is home to thousands of fisherfolk from the Karvi community who live along the beaches of Mormugao, Salcete and Tiswadi talukas. It is a natural  harbour that provides…

Namati joins 125 groups in condemning India’s exclusion of 1.9 million people from the Assam National Registry of Citizens

Posted by McKinley Charles in Advocacy & Systemic Change, Citizenship

On 31 August 2019, India published the final version of the National Register of Citizens, a list which effectively strips nearly 2 million people in the state of Assam of their citizenship. Namati has joined 125 civil society organizations in condemning the decision and calling for urgent action to protect everyone’s right to a nationality….

Meet the Winners of the 2019 Grassroots Justice Prize

Posted by Namati in Global Legal Empowerment Network, Namati News

We are thrilled to announce the winners of the 2019 Grassroots Justice Prize, the world’s only award that recognizes great deeds in legal empowerment. Nearly 200 organizations applied for this global prize. An eminent panel of judges awarded three groups – Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (Bangladesh), City Life/Vida Urbana (United States), and NIRMAN…

Q&A: How legal empowerment advances environmental justice in India

Posted by Vidya Viswanathan in Environment, Land & Natural Resources

In India, mining, industrial development, and other private and public projects damage the environment and endanger the livelihoods of local communities. Despite robust laws on the books, there is a very poor record of compliance. Paralegals on the Centre for Policy Research-Namati environmental justice team support communities to understand and use the law to find…

The Council and the Coal Giant – Aslam’s Story

Posted by Namati in Community Paralegals, Environment, Land & Natural Resources

This is a story of how, with the power of law, a small village collectively challenged a multi-billion dollar conglomerate to restore environmental justice for its people. And won.   The residents of Nana Mandha village in Gujarat State are primarily farmers, herders, and shepherds of modest means. Situated near India’s western coast, the small,…

Paralegals share lessons learned on holding community legal trainings

Posted by Centre for Policy Research-Namati in Community Paralegals, Environment, Land & Natural Resources, Resources & Research

Paralegals with Namati and the Centre for Policy Research’s joint environmental justice program (who are called ‘enviro-legal coordinators’ or ELCs for short) have now conducted close to 75 community trainings on India’s Coastal Regulation Zone Notification in Uttara Kannada district. Last month, one of the program’s senior managers, Meenakshi Kapoor, held calls with senior ELCs…

New Report Pushes Back Against Global Land Rush

Posted by CPR-Namati in Environment, Land & Natural Resources, Namati News, Resources & Research

After three years of intensive research, we are thrilled to launch Midcourse Manoeuvers: Community Strategies and Remedies for Natural Resource Conflicts in India, Indonesia, and Myanmar, a groundbreaking resource for frontline practitioners working with communities affected by land use change. It’s no secret that corporations and private investors, eager to turn a profit, are fueling the land…

Public is absent in India’s environmental policymaking

Posted by Namati in Advocacy & Systemic Change, Environment, Land & Natural Resources, Namati News

“Public participation [in policymaking] is a sign of a healthy democracy,” yet with very narrow timeframes to participate, the public is crucially absent in environmental policymaking in India, writes Kanchi Kohli, CPR-Namati’s Legal Research Director on Environmental Justice, in this DNA India op-ed.

“A Victory of the Common Man”: Farming Community in India Takes on Polluting Company

Posted by Namati in Community Paralegals, Environment, Land & Natural Resources

For over two years the village of Bogribeil was cloaked in a thick cloud of dust. A private company had set up a stone crushing operation on the edge of the small farming community in the Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka, India. The dust threatened the villagers’ health and impacted their livelihoods, polluting the water in…

Podcast: Can Legal Empowerment Change Power Dynamics?

Posted by Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Advocacy & Systemic Change, Community Paralegals, Environment, General, Land & Natural Resources

Access to justice is a key governance concern in developed and developing countries alike. Community legal workers aim to help poor or comparatively powerless people defend themselves against land grabs, obtain public services, and challenge corruption. Can this bottom-up approach counter powerful interests seeking to entrench their control? Can legal empowerment help respond to rising…

Passing on regulatory burdens to people is a recipe for disaster

Posted by Manju Menon, Kanchi Kohli in Advocacy & Systemic Change, Environment, Land & Natural Resources

In the following opinion piece, Manju Menon and Kanchi Kohli of the CPR-Namati Environmental Justice Program offer their thoughts on India’s environmental regulation plans. The article was originally published on India’s DNA news website. India’s environmental regulatory failure is now official. Activists and environmental groups had pointed to this much earlier but now all governmental…

Special Blog Series on Coastal Regulations in India

Posted by Namati in Advocacy & Systemic Change, Environment, Land & Natural Resources

Impending legislation changes in India are set to significantly impact coastal communities. In response, the CPR-Namati Environment Justice Program has launched the “Coastal Regulation” blog series. The series will explore the proposed changes, the potential community impacts, and provide background on the current Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, 2011 to provide insight on what steps need be…

The New York Times: “India’s Barefoot Lawyers”

Posted by Namati in Community Paralegals, Environment, Land & Natural Resources, Namati News

In the August 8th copy of the New York Times,  Pulitzer Prize-winning writer TINA ROSENBERG captured the work of paralegals working for environmental justice in India. An Excerpt follows below. The full Article CAN BE READ here. BOGRIBAIL, India — A David and Goliath story: Two years ago, a road-construction company called IRB Infrastructure Developers established…

Holding a Municipality Accountable

Posted by Hasmukh Dhumadiya in Community Paralegals, Environment, Land & Natural Resources

This blog was written by Hasmukh Dhumadiya, an Enviro-legal Coordinator with the CPR-Namati Environmental Justice Program in India. It was originally published on India Together, an electronic newsmagazine devoted to coverage of public affairs, policy, and development in India. Bakshipunch Housing Society is located in Arambhada in the district of Devbhumi Dwarka in the western Indian…

Biting the Dust: How community action stopped a polluting refinery

Posted by Jayendrasinh Ker in Community Paralegals, Environment, Land & Natural Resources

The following blog WAS written by Jayendrasinh Ker, an Enviro Legal Coordinator with the CPR-Namati Environment Justice Program in India. IT was originally published on myLaw, an online platform dedicated to making legal knowledge and learning accessible to everyone in India through quality content and courses. Dineshbhai’s mobile number has its ringer off. But before that,…

Saving Sangam from Mining

Posted by Vijay Rathod in Community Paralegals, Environment, Land & Natural Resources

The following post originally appeared on India Water Portal. There was illegal mining in the Triveni Sangam and I could not believe my eyes. Who could do something like this? The sangam, or confluence of rivers, in the Gujarat district of India, has a special place in my mind as I had grown up visiting…

Podcast: Unpacking Research on Environmental Justice

Posted by Namati in Environment, Land & Natural Resources, Resources & Research

Manju Menon is director of Namati and Centre for Policy Research‘s Environmental Justice program. In the 16th episode of CPR’s podcast ThoughtSpace, Richa Bansal talks to Menon to unpack her research, including the context; how the research is put into action on the ground through training personnel to find solutions; and the impact this action…

Residents use rule of law to secure environmental justice

Posted by Hasmukh Dhumadia in Community Paralegals, Environment

The following article first appeared on the India Together website. Gujarat, located in western part of India, has the longest and the most industrialized coastline in the country. The majority of the mangroves on this coastal stretch are found in Devbhumi Dwarka District of the state. The district is on the southern shore of the…

Counterview: “Industrial projects operating without environmental clearances to be legalised?

Posted by Manju Menon and Kanchi Kohli in Environment

On March 14, 2017, India’s Environment Ministry released a revised final notification that will allow any project, even those who have been illegally operating, to apply for Environmental Clearances (EC). The notification would provide amnesty for actions such as illegal land grabs and environmental regulation violations and limit a community’s ability to hold businesses and those in…

The Wire: “Environment Ministry to Bend Over Backwards to Whitelist Illicit Projects”

Posted by Manju Menon and Kanchi Kohli in Environment

The following is an excerpt from an article published on The Wire’s online site on March 22, 2017 by Manju Menon and Kanchi Kohli, CPR-Namati Environment Justice Program staff members in New Dehli, India. On March 14, 2017, [India’s] environment ministry issued a notification that is a remarkable show of partisan support to projects that have been…

How a Coastal Violation is Leading to a Small Revolution in Karnataka

Posted by Vinod Patgar in Environment

The following blog by CPR-Namati Enviro-Legal Coordinator, Vinod Patgar, originally appeared on myLaw.net. Baad, a village near my village of Kagal in coastal Karnataka, hosts a fair every year at the Shri Kanchika Parameshwari temple. As children, the joy of going to this fair was unparalleled. During the fair, the yakshagana, a folk dance, used…

Gujarat villagers act to stop a company’s mishandling of coal and cement

Posted by Namati in Community Paralegals, Environment, Land & Natural Resources

For years, the improper handling of coal and cement at the jetty of a prominent company polluted the air near the Muldwakarka Port in Gujarat, India. Villagers worried that the dust posed health risks and farmers complained that it damaged their crops and fields. The newly appointed Sarpanch (Village Head) of Muldwarka felt compelled to…

Birth Certificates in Bangladesh: Ruma’s Story

Posted by Namati in Citizenship, Community Paralegals

Ruma’s daughter was approaching school age, but there was a problem: Her daughter didn’t have a birth certificate. Ruma couldn’t enroll her in school without one.   The idea of securing a birth certificate was daunting and unclear for Ruma. She is a member of Bangladesh’s Urdu-speaking community, a minority group that has faced discrimination…

How One Experience in Bangladesh Advanced Women’s Rights Work in Myanmar

Posted by Nant Thi Thi Oo in Gender, Global Legal Empowerment Network

The following is a blog by Nant Thi Thi Oo, a data entry associate with Namati’s program in Myanmar.    In November 2015, I had the chance to participate in a learning exchange hosted by Namati and the Bangladesh National Woman Lawyers Association (BNWLA). I was very grateful to be selected to go. The exchange focused…

One Fisherman’s Fight for Environmental Justice

Posted by Namati in Community Paralegals, Environment, Land & Natural Resources

Shakir Ahmad Bloch lives and works on the Jamnagar coast in the Gujarat state of India. Fishing is how he and many thousands of others in the state provide for their families. But what was once a secure livelihood is now one that is regularly in jeopardy. The area has seen a significant influx in the…

New Handbook for Environment Justice Practitioners in India

Posted by Namati in Community Paralegals, Environment, Land & Natural Resources, Resources & Research

Handbook on Legal and Administrative Remedies for Community Level Environment Justice Practitioners in India   The Centre for Policy Research-Namati Environmental Justice Program has produced an indispensable new handbook that helps environment justice practitioners in India to identify and use appropriate legal clauses and institutional routes in their work. Environment justice practitioners, or grassroots environment paralegals,…

Groundtruthing Environmental Violations in Chhattisgarh, India

Posted by Krithika Dinesh in Community Paralegals, Environment, Namati News

Namati and the Centre for Policy Research are pleased to release the second report in their series on community-led groundtruthing exercises in India. The report, Closing the Enforcement Gap: Groundtruthing of Environmental Violations in Sarguja, Chhattisgarh, outlines how representatives from three villages in the state of Chhattisgrah in central India used the process of groundtruthing to establish that the…

Shamima’s Story: Maternal Care and Citizenship in Bangladesh

Posted by McKinley Charles in Citizenship, Community Paralegals

Shamima cannot afford health care. Not even at the government hospitals. Like most members of the minority Urdu-speaking community in Khulna, in southwest Bangladesh, she and her husband do not have enough to meet their basic needs. With his income as an autorickshaw driver, they can only afford to rent a one-room house. The counselor’s…

India’s National Green Tribunal Sets an Important Precedent

Posted by Krithika Dinesh, Manju Menon, and Kanchi Kohli in Environment

A Casual Approach  By taking on board the concerns of a fishing community in Hazira, India, regarding the construction of a port, the National Green Tribunal has set an important precedent. I n 2013, a fishermen’s group in Hazira—the Hazira Machimar Samiti—and three affected fishermen had filed a petition against the Adanis, the project proponent…

An Empowering Exchange

Posted by McKinley Charles in Global Legal Empowerment Network, Opportunities

Wirdan Fauzi is a public interest lawyer with the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute. His job is to improve the lives of workers by building their understanding of their rights and advocating for changes to labor policies. But for Wirdan, it is much more than just a job, it’s a way to fulfill his personal goal of…

Leveraging the Law Is the New Way to Help the World’s Poor

Posted by Take Part Media in Community Paralegals, Environment, Land & Natural Resources

The role that community paralegals play in supporting and protecting coastal communities in southern India is explored in this feature by TakePart media. Read the full story here.  

Is the Hubli-Ankola Railway line approved?

Posted by Kanchi Kohli in Environment

India’s media reports that the country’s National Green Tribunal (NGT) has given clearance to Indian Railways to approach the state government regarding the Hubli-Ankola rail link, which will pass through the dense Western Ghats in Karnataka. Kanchi Kohli writes on how the orders of NGT do not necessarily imply a complete go-ahead for the railway…

Burying the Law to Make Way for a Coal Mine

Posted by Kanchi Kohli and Alok Shukla in Environment

The cancellation of the community rights of Ghatbarra village over the Hasdeo Arand forest – to make way for a coal mine – raises many questions. When the Forest Survey of India’s 2011 report celebrated Hasdeo Arand as the largest unfragmented forest in central India outside the official protected area system, there was another process…

India’s New Environmental Regulations: Waiting Until the Damage is Done

Posted by Kanchi Kohli in Environment

In this article Namati-CPR’s Kanchi Kohli looks at the changes proposed by India’s Government in the Draft Environment Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2015 which was recently opened to public scrutiny. A major thrust of the changes is a dangerous reliance upon ‘on-the-spot’ fines for supposedly ‘minor’ environmental infringements and the removal of many pre-development processes to protect…

CRZ: Why coastal communities are troubled by these three letters

Posted by Vinod Patgar in Environment

The coastline of Uttara Kannada district in Karnataka is poised at a critical juncture. Both the government and the private sector are looking out for opportunities and have begun setting up resorts, ports, and industries signalling “new” opportunities. In this context, sustaining common use areas like beaches and creeks and access to the shore for…

Stretching the meaning of ‘reforestation’ beyond breaking point

Posted by Manju Menon in Environment

This OpEd first appeared in The Caravan Magazine. Ever since he took charge as the minister for the environment and forests in May last year, Prakash Javadekar has appeared to be in quite a hurry. His task, he has stated over and over again to the media whenever the opportunity has presented itself, is to…

Video: Far West Nepal Celebrates Access to Justice in the Global Goals

Posted by Prabhakar Bagchand in Advocacy & Systemic Change, Post-2015 Agenda

Members of Nepal’s marginalized Dalit community in Ghuinyaghat, Dhangadhi Kailali in the Far West of Nepal celebrated the inclusion of Access to Justice targets in the Sustainable Development Goals amidst lots of fan-fare on Saturday, October 17, 2015. The celebration coincided with Rural Women’s Day. Community members linked the justice targets of the global goals to…

The Sea, the Law and Salt

Posted by Vimal Kalavadiya and Bharat Patel in Environment

How we used the law to reclaim the inter-tidal area at Bavdi Bander, Gujarat, India The Kutch district in Gujarat, one of the largest in India, has a coastline of 405 kilometers and inter-tidal area of about 200 kilometers. For generations, communities in the district have engaged in agriculture, pottery, animal husbandry, weaving, fishing, and…

Riverbed sand mining in India

Posted by Kanchi Kohli in Environment

Namati’s Kanchi Kohli, legal research director of the environmental justice program in India, reports on how riverbed sand mining continues unabated in India, despite the directions of the Supreme Court in 2012 and repeated assurances from State governments.   Read the full story in Frontline, the magazine of The Hindu newspaper.

Ignoring the institutions that can save India’s coastal regions

Posted by Manju Menon, Kanchi Kohli and Meenakshi Kapoor in Environment

Since November 2014 there have been at least four amendments to India’s Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification, 2011. In all but one instance, the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has emphasised on the “public interest” clause, allowing the dispensation of the requirement of a public notice and seeking citizen’s inputs before the…

Call for New Partners: Community Land Protection

Posted by Marena Brinkhurst in Community Land Protection, Environment, Namati News

Namati is looking for new partners to adapt our approach to support communities in their regions. Drawing on five years of research and field-testing, Namati and our partners have designed a powerful four-step process for protecting community lands and natural resources. Our approach supports communities to map their resources, harmonize boundaries, and formally register their…

Oxfam on India’s proposed new land acquisition ordinance

Posted by Namati in Environment, Land & Natural Resources

There has been uproar in India’s parliament and among civil society groups following the government’s proposal to replace the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act (RFCLARR). RFCLARR was enacted in 2013 replacing the land acquisition policies prevalent in the country since 1894. A year later, the Government of…

Targeting Illegal Mining in India’s Forests

Posted by Kanchi Kohli in Environment

Namati’s Kanchi Kohli explains how public interest litigation finally forced the authorities to act against illegal iron ore mines in the forests of Odisha. 27 October 2014 – The discourse around iron and steel in India has taken a huge political turn since 2007. In 2007, the Karnataka state government, while recognising the problem of rampant illegal…

Justice in the SDGs for Nepal’s Women and Dalits

Posted by Namati in Post-2015 Agenda

The Kathmandu Post is running an OpEd by Som Niroula and Neetu Pokharel, of the Alliance for Social Dialogue in Nepal, that argues for the inclusion of justice targets in the new development goals. This, they argue, is the best way  of ensuring enforcement of Nepal’s obligations to women and those who suffer caste discrimination. “A large number of Nepali…

India’s Quest for Power

Posted by Kanchi Kohli in Environment

Namati’s Kanchi Kohli on how India’s ‘balance’ of industrialisation and ecological protection actually looks at the ground level. “The lives of people living in coastal or forest ecosystems are likely to change drastically if one is to go by the number of power plants going up in India today. Each company seeking permission to operate a coal mine…

Fishing in India’s Troubled Waters

Posted by The New York Times in Environment, Land & Natural Resources

The New York Times’ photography blog documents the life of fishermen facing environmental and other dangers on Southern India’s coasts in a project by photographer Selvaprakash Lakshmanan for the Fojo Institute’s Coastal Management program. “Since most of India’s massive population lives in inland cities, the coastal areas he’s investigating are typically underreported and overlooked,” writes The NY Times….

Akbar, Birbal, and a South Asia Regional Meeting on Monitoring and Evaluating Legal Empowerment

Posted by Namati in Resources & Research

On April 19 and 20 in Dhaka, Namati, BRAC, Marg, and the Open Society Justice Initiative held a regional meeting on methods of monitoring and evaluating legal empowerment. The gathering brought together more than 50 people from all over the region, representing grassroots groups, development agencies, governments, and evaluation experts.