Civis and Rainmatter Foundation Launch Guide to Promote Citizen Participation in Environmental and Climate Policymaking

New initiative aims to educate and engage citizens in shaping environmental and climate policies for a sustainable future

Civis, a community-driven non-profit organization in India, has teamed up with the Rainmatter Foundation to launch an innovative guide called “Climate Voices.”

This guide aims to promote citizen participation in environmental and climate policymaking by emphasizing the importance of public consultations.

By actively involving citizens, civil society organizations, and the media in decision-making processes, India can develop laws and policies that reflect diverse perspectives and effectively combat the climate crisis.

The Climate Voices guide focuses on the roles and responsibilities of three key stakeholders: citizens, civil society, and the media. It provides insights into how these groups can contribute to the co-creation of environmental laws by participating in public consultations on draft legislation.

To ensure accessibility, the guide is available in five languages: English, Hindi, Marathi, Kannada, and Tamil, and can be downloaded via WhatsApp from the Civis website.

Antaraa Vasudev, Founder and CEO of Civis, highlights the need to adopt a citizen-centric approach in developing laws that impact communities.

The Climate Voices guide serves as a bridge between different stakeholders, leveraging the knowledge and expertise of the community to foster dialogue and enhance environmental lawmaking.

Climate Voices is designed to empower individuals who wish to make a difference in India’s environmental lawmaking and actively shape climate policies.

Through real-life examples of individuals, communities, and civil society organizations, readers gain insights into how public consultations provide a platform for everyone to express their views and influence environmental management.

Marisha Karwa of the Rainmatter Foundation emphasizes the significance of public consultation and the relevance of the guide. Many individuals and community groups often feel like silent bystanders in the face of the climate crisis and environmental degradation.

However, Climate Voices offers a step-by-step guide for actively participating in the environmental lawmaking process. Providing suggestions and feedback on proposed bills and regulations is crucial for conservation efforts and safeguarding landscapes from further threats.

India has experienced notable successes in shaping environmental laws through public consultations. One such example is the Forest Rights Act, passed by Parliament in 2006.

This legislation recognizes the rights of forest-dwelling communities who have been residing on forest land for generations.

The act was the outcome of years of collective action by these communities, who actively participated in the decision-making process through public consultations.

The act acknowledges three types of rights for forest dwellers: rights over forest land, community rights, and rights over community forest resources.

With the advancement of technology, public consultations can be made more accessible and inclusive. Digital platforms can facilitate virtual feedback from communities, thereby reducing barriers to participation and ensuring a broader range of voices are heard.

By leveraging public consultations and incorporating diverse perspectives, India can continue to develop effective environmental laws and policies that address the urgent challenges of the climate crisis.