Environmental non-governmental organizations: key players in development in a changing climate—a case study of Mali
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Developing countries are often most impacted by climate change. While the work of international environmental organizations has received considerable public and academic attention, local environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs) also play a key role in assisting local populations adapt to the changing environment and develop in a sustainable manner. Drawing on data from semi-structured interviews with rural Malians, and using a local ENGO [the Mali-Folkecenter Nyetaa (MFC)] as a case study, this paper begins by describing how rural Malians perceive climate change is impacting their lives, and how the MFC attempts to address these impacts with their programs in the communities. The paper then illustrates the unique advantages of local ENGOs, both in their holistic approach and their integration in the communities, to working with the local population, relative to the approach taken by larger NGOs in this field. It concludes by proposing that a key new avenue for the international community to meet its developmental and environmental goals could be to support the work of local ENGOs through, for example, existing carbon markets.
KeywordsClimate change Development Sustainability Impacts Adaptation Mitigation Sustainable development NGO ENGO
The author acknowledges the Mali-Folkecenter Nyetaa staff and affiliates, in particular Dr. Ibrahim Togola, Johanna Togola, and Benoît Rivard. The author is also very grateful to Joanne Nowak for her constant support throughout this endeavor. Finally, the author would like to thank York University for funding to travel to Mali, as well as the Faculty of Environmental Studies and Professor José Etcheverry.
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