When governments and citizens cooperate based on principles of good governance, the result is stronger environmental policies that create resilient, inclusive and sustainable solutions. The National Democratic Institute (NDI) is uniquely qualified to shape the elements of good governance that improve natural disaster response and recovery, natural resource management and sustainability, and address the outsize impact of climate change on women and society’s most marginalized. NDI proposes to utilize its global, regional, national and local networks to ensure that informed environmental policy, activated by democratic processes and supported by good governance, results in just environmental and democratic outcomes.
When citizens and government institutions work together to solve problems, societies are best able to enhance environmental resilience. When governance is transparent and accountable and involves citizens across diverse communities, popular, legitimate and equitable solutions result. These legitimate and equitable environmental policies are sustained when government, civil society, and citizen oversight and accountability mechanisms exist.
NDI works in several areas to ensure citizens and government institutions work together to enhance environmental resilience, including:
- Political Process Strengthening - NDI works with all political actors and civil society members that peacefully advance democracy and responsive governance.
- Political Inclusion - Natural disasters, a changing environment, dislocation and climate-driven violence are having outsized impacts on women and girls and underrepresented communities including but not limited to ethnic and religious minorities and people with disabilities. NDI helps citizens -- especially women and those in underrepresented and marginalized communities -- identify locally-driven and science-based solutions, and facilitates the development of equitable, gender-sensitive, accessible, and just solutions for the environment. NDI will focus on partnerships with youth activists - particularly young women activists who have been leading the movement to combat climate change - and organizations representing women and underrepresented communities to drive awareness and education.
- Sustainable Environmental Policy and Economic Transformation - With accelerating and worsening natural and man-made disasters, governments must identify and implement far-reaching environmental, economic and social reforms if they are to increase their resilience through good governance. This includes policies for effective natural resource management, sustainable energy development and conservation. NDI will assist governments, parliaments, policy makers, citizens and environmental advocates to develop sound and popularly accepted environmental policies.
Examples of NDI’s Environmental Governance and Resilience Programming
In Nepal, NDI strengthened democratic political processes and supported environmental resilience by facilitating relationships between local communities, the National Parliament and the national government on the devastating environmental impacts of Nepal’s annual floods. Working with environmental experts, local communities identified deforestation as the main driver of flooding. NDI worked with communities on an advocacy agenda and engaged parliamentary representatives, who passed legislation and mandated the national government to execute policies to protect against deforestation. At the local level, civil society groups and local governments continue to monitor implementation and, at the national level, the parliament asserts its oversight responsibilities to ensure sustained efforts by the executive. Urgent community disaster response has been transformed into a sustainable environmental solution through democratic engagement.
This political engagement model is at the core of NDI’s work on environmental governance globally, as demonstrated by the following additional examples:
- In a regional program managed out of Colombia, NDI works on legislative transparency with lawmakers from Argentina, Paraguay, and Colombia in support of their participation in the Global Legislators Organization (GLOBE) International, which generates projects related to the environment, climate change, and green energy.
- NDI’s Tunisia country office supported and advised a Sustainable Development Caucus (SDC) in the 2014-2019 parliament term with a group of multi-party MPs in caucus with CSOs and environmental experts to advance local environmental programming.
- NDI’s Burkina Faso office teamed with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative to train government officials and mining stakeholders on measures to improve the transparency of the Burkinabe mining sector.
The ability of governments to address climate shocks responsively, inclusively and transparently is critical to democratic legitimacy and sound environmental governance. NDI’s political process work is also critical to building the political and popular will to implement the large-scale economic, infrastructure and social reforms required for equitable and sustainable environmental adaptation and resilience.
Environmental resilience solutions will be more effective, inclusive, sustainable and long-lasting when governments and citizens cooperate through the practice of good governance. NDI is uniquely qualified to provide the critical elements of good governance that can lead to environmental resilience. It has a proven track record in using good governance practices to improve natural disaster response and recovery, natural resource management and sustainability. Through its Environmental Governance and Resilience programming, NDI activates its global, regional, national and local networks to ensure that informed environmental policy, animated by democratic processes and supported by good governance, will result in just environmental and democratic outcomes.
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