From NGO Handbook
Recent decades have seen an increase in the number, role, and functions of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with an environmental focus. As transnational actors in civil society, these environmental NGOs seek to directly impact and influence environmental issues on the international, national, and local levels. This article will address how the rise of global awareness of the environment led to the creation and development of environmental NGOs in response to these issues, their objectives and roles, and the outlook for their participation and impact on these issues in the future.
The environment emerged as a new critical international issue in the 1970s. Concerns such as the depletion of natural resources, climate change, and harmful pollutants began to gain awareness in the public’s mind. The environmental movement in the United States, for example, emerged from incidents and individuals reacting to governments who were slow or unwilling to address issues and problems.
The UN system played an integral role in the promotion and creation of environmental NGOs. Two important international conferences established a platform for groups to organize, set agendas, and make policy recommendations.
Today, issues such as global warming and sustainable development command world attention. The mandates and missions of environmental NGOs are directed towards promoting solutions, advocating action, and policing agreements and policies, including holding governments accountable for these treaties such as the Kyoto Protocol.