‘Alternative Nobel’ for an Indian organization | Latest India News
The Delhi-based environmental organization Legal Initiative for Forest and Environment (LIFE) received the Right Livelihood Award 2021 for its “grassroots approach of empowering vulnerable communities to protect their livelihoods and claim their right to an environment. own “. The prize is known as Sweden’s Alternative Nobel Prize.
Other laureates include Cameroonian women’s rights activist Marthe Wandou, Russian environmental activist Vladimir Slivyak and Canadian indigenous rights defender Freda Huson.
The Right Livelihood Award honors and supports people who solve global problems. It is accompanied by a cash prize of one million Swedish kronor ($ 115,000) and long-term support to showcase and develop the work of the laureates.
The Stockholm-based Right Livelihood jury, which chose the winners, said LIFE received the award “for innovative legal work that enables communities to protect their resources in the pursuit of environmental democracy in India.”
In a statement released on Wednesday, Right Livelihood said that despite a strong legislative framework on environmental protection, access to justice for those who intend to protect India’s remaining forests and biodiversity is often limited. âTo fill this gap, LIFE was founded by lawyers Ritwick Dutta and Rahul Choudhary in 2005. Since then, LIFE has tackled some of India’s most significant environmental threats, including helping local communities stop construction a large-scale bauxite mine in the eastern state of Odisha and shut down a hydroelectric project in the state of Arunachal Pradesh.
Dutta said they were thrilled to receive the award. âThis is our first international award, and it means a lot to us and to all the local groups across India that we support. The award will help us increase the impact of our work, enabling more people to protect nature and livelihoods. “
He added that their goal now is to ensure that decisions about the environment take into account the impact of the climate crisis. âDespite clear evidence that the Indian ecosystem is undergoing rapid changes due to climate change, we have yet to take concrete steps to address it. Climate change is nowhere in the environmental decision-making process.
Ole von Uexkull, the executive director of Right Livelihood who created the award, said LIFE lawyers have fought government and business interests that threaten people’s survival and rights. âThey enable groups of citizens to claim their right to a clean environment, on which their livelihoods depend. “
In a statement, LIFE said it has been involved in more than 600 environment-related cases over the past 15 years. âStarting with the Vedanta mining case where the Supreme Court (in 2013) set a legal precedent by seeking consent from communities before forest land could be diverted, we have helped communities challenge the Posco steel plant. in Orissa. “