WHERE DO WE COME FROM ?
Based on the involvement of
its members already in the 60's, ECO˛TERRA was formed at the Stockholm
Conference in 1972 as a group and evolved during the 70's and early
80's as a more formal network of scientists, researchers, development
professionals, activists, journalists and writers. Many concerned
and pro-active individuals having various backgrounds work together
with the task to create awareness especially about the environmental
problems and human rights in developing countries as well as in the
modern states and to elaborate, promote and implement solutions.
In 1986 ECO˛TERRA was
officially registered and in 1987 recognised as NGO, NGHA and charity, at
first in the Federal Republic of Germany. Though ECO˛TERRA has its roots
as European NGO still in various states of the European Union, nodes were
established in most of those developing countries, where ECO˛TERRA
operates. This process continues as people in a growing number of
countries join ECO˛TERRA or receive ECO˛TERRA co-operation, assistance
The basic constitution and
mandate of ECO˛TERRA as international CSO applies for all countries of
operation, and differs only in some administrative matters, required
legally by the respective country. Within the task countries ECO˛TERRA
Intl. creates its local ECO˛TERRA groups and nodes, which assist in the
programmes and projects, while receiving support and training to become a
locally registered and recognised NGO, an associate and later a full
member of ECO˛TERRA International.
This basic policy is important
to safeguard the bottom up approach from grassroots level in order
to address the real local needs, to establish the necessary trust and
co-operation, but also to guarantee local capacity building as well as the
responsibility, transparency and accountability of the organisation in
general. That approach helps equally to empower local people and
communities, to reduce their external dependence or future vulnerability
and to create sustainable life-styles.
AN ECOTERRA MEMBER YOURSELF: MEMBERSHIP
ECO˛TERRA was created as a
platform for concerned people, who realised that (for various reasons)
most governmental or non-governmental organisations existing, can not or
do not tackle the growing environmental problems consequently. In todays
world, where more and more environmental problems, caused by short-sighted
economic ventures of people or simply by the human needs to survive within
growing populations or societies in distress, though being realised by
better insights based on advanced environmental sciences, the degradation
of nature in most areas has even not been stopped.
Cases, where the negative
trend has been reversed, even for a short time, are still very rare.
Most existing institutions and
organisations are still either strictly oriented towards the standard
economic success, propaganda-like conservation stories, the repetitive
collection of information, or towards the preservation of nature and
natural resources without taking the human factor seriously into
The imperative to adapt into
specific ecological niches, which provide people with the necessary
sustainability in economic security, whilst not endangering its
coexistence within an intact natural environment, has short term
consequences. These are politically often not opportune and therefore
shunned, which leads to the fact that existing and realised problems are
not solved, though possible solutions are known. It was and is necessary
to harmonise the short term economic demands and the long term ecological
necessities. But, instead implementing existing solutions to stop and
reverse the negative trends in environmental degradation, global consensus
to care for the earth is only just discussed and mostly not enacted, thus
hindering also the positive actions and processes initiated and created by
locally successful activities.
As early as in the 60's, ECO˛TERRA
members were involved in the activities leading 1972 to the United Nations
Conference on Human Environment in Stockholm. In the beginning of the 80's
the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the European Union
(EU) through its Environmental Bureau (EEB) called upon their member
states for the engagement of concerned people and to create or become
engaged in Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to work for the common
future of humankind in terms of a global effort in environmental
protection and environmentally sound economic development.
In this spirit ECO˛TERRA was
founded as an independent CSO and NGHA with the goal to support the
increased global effort to prevent damage especially to indigenous people
and their intact natural environment, as well as to assist in the
stabilisation and rehabilitation of disturbed environs.
The world-wide concern led in
1992 to the Earth Summit of the United Nations Conference on Environment
and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro as well as its Global Forum,
adopting Agenda 21, in 1995 to the Social Summit and to the Global Climate
Conference and in 1996 to the Habitat II Conference and various other
conventions like the Convention on International Trade of Endangered
Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES) or the Kyoto Protocol. ECO˛TERRA was
an active participant in all these conferences and contributed to the
various conventions, but sees its tasks in not just talking again and
again but in being engaged in the process to implement the found solutions.
Therefore, though research and
information exchange is not neglected, the "HANDS-ON" approach
is our priority and contributes that future discussions can be based on
positive examples actually realised. However, the gap between implemented
solutions and the magnitude of newly arising problems, especially in
developing countries, is widening, despite the efforts of all concerned.
Therefore we will continue, based on Art. 5 and 21 e of the World Charter
for Nature, as well as especially based on the Principles 23 and 24 of the
Rio Declaration to secure first peoples and nature against degradation
caused by warfare or other hostile activities and to safeguard and
preserve nature also in areas beyond national jurisdiction.