Environmental governance (EG) refers to processes of decision making that have a direct impact on the natural environment. In a world where indiscriminate consumption of natural resources is driving many species to extinction, it is imperative to engage with environmental decision makers and try to encourage policies that work with, rather against, existing ecology.

The objective of Keystone’s work as an advocate and governmental liaison is to strengthen EG  mechanisms across the Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve, by enabling and encouraging a multi-stakeholder approach focused on decentralized community-based resource management. Keystone works as a catalyst, striving to bring EG centre-stage so that all policies, action, processes have consider the effect on the environment and try to make that effect positive. This effort brings Keystone into conversation with academics, various levels of government, and business interests in an attempt to push EG into mainstream development discourse.

From lobbying for Adivasi houses, strengthening the rights of indigenous people to livelihood resources, and supporting the implementation of the Forest Rights Act, Keystone aspires to situate livelihoods within the larger realm of EG.

Programme Components


Finding balance between commercial and environmental interests  •  The Nilgiris is a precarious and vulnerable district with a rich history, where natural resources are very tightly knitted with the social fabric  •  Bringing together diverse tribal communities and other local community members is difficult both logistically and socially  •  Lack of effective enforcement and monitoring mechanisms by concerned authorities leads to lack of impact of legislation            


Conversation and discussions with government representatives as well as local communities  • Trainings and workshops on relevant issues such as the Forest Rights Act  •  Studies and reports on local governance procedures as well as development plans for the area          


Creating a model for how to carry out EG in ecologically sensitive, diverse areas  •  Providing capacity building for locals and government representatives  •   Mainstreaming EG, making it accessible for everyone  •  Decentralizing decision making processes so that local people have more of an impact on their land   




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