Environmental Justice Project
The goal of Chautari's environmental justice Project (EJP) was to improve public understanding of environmental_justice with respect to grassroots problems in accessing natural resources. By broadening the public discussion on environmental justice, Chautari aimed to bridge gaps between national, district-level, civil and grassroots actors who are actually and potentially involved in disseminating the idea of environmental justice. Chautari also aimed at sensitizing these various actors about existing injustices in fair access to natural resources.
To identify these environmental injustices at the grassroots level and to use them to illustrate the cases of environmental injustices, their occurrence and evolution and disproportionate impact on the society, Chautari conducted research in both urban and rural areas. Pokhara was selected for study as an urban site and three villages (Hyanjya, Dhital and Lahachok) nearby Pokhara were selected as rural sites for study. The findings of these studies were used in formulating the concept of ‘environmental justice’ and in undertaking advocacy programs on behalf of environmental justice. Chautari based a variety of publications on these studies, including a bibliography for illustrating cases of environmental justice and injustice, as well as visual and audio tools.
The specific objectives and the activities of EJP were indicated in the original proposal submitted to Ford Foundation. The project's achievements in the first year must be examined in relation to these objectives and activities.
Chautari began its work in EJP by constituting a team to undertake the activities specified in the proposal submitted to the Ford Foundation. The EJP team consisted of Jagannath Adhikari (Coordinator) and Sharad Ghimire (Botanist). To conduct field studies and help in advocacy work, Min Bahadur Giri, a researcher in anthropology/sociology, was included in the team, and he was based in Pokhara. The organizational and advocacy-related expertise existing in Chautari was also used in advancing EJP's objectives.