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CTA. 1989. ELCI. Spore 20. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/45054
Sustainable development becomes a reality only when the ideas and energies of small, local groups are taken seriously. Development is now seen more and more as a process of strengthening the efforts that grassroots groups, no longer thought of as...
Sustainable development becomes a reality only when the ideas and energies of small, local groups are taken seriously. Development is now seen more and more as a process of strengthening the efforts that grassroots groups, no longer thought of as ignorant, are already making. There is a growing recognition that people in the countryside have their own wisdom, and that it is important to take that as the starting point for any development exercise. <<Empowering the local groups>> is now the strategy of the thousands of NGOs (non-governmental organizations) under the pan African umbrella NGO the Environment Liaison Centre International (ELCI). The idea of ELCI was conceived at the UN Conference on the Human Environment at Stockholm in 1972. In 1974 an international NGO was set up in Nairobi to strengthen the linkages between the organizations working for the environment and development, between those of North and South, and between the NGOs themselves, and the UN a encies, especially UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme), based in Nairobi. ELCI consists of 251 member organizations in 64 countries, and an administrative council of 18 members (one-third of which are in the South), and some 7000 other contacts. Thus it part of the worldwide effort to protect the earth's ecosystems for the well-being of the whole human race, and for the longterm use and fair distribution of resources. To attain these objectives ELCI has recently published Strategies for Sustamable Development 1989-1991, and among these strategies networking and outreach have a prime place. Networking is seen as the collection and dissemination of information on NGO activities, documentation on environment and development issues, dissemination of researched information publication of periodicals and reports, and the sharing of information among NGO through seminars, workshops and conferences (horizontal linking). A primary organ of this strategy of networking is ELCI's Information, Documentation and Communications Unit. Its tasks are information collection, documentation and information dissemination through its bimonthly journal Ecoforum, published in English, Spanish, and French. In the past ten years ELCI has built up a unique database on NGOs and their activities worldwide. This data has been frequentlv used by UN, international, and aid agencies in choosing NGO partners, and for networking. This will continue to be a main role of ELCI, and the Unit will gradually decentralize the collection and dissemination of NGO data by establishing regional databases, by producing directories of NGO's working on ELCI's theme areas and other relevant subjects, and by regularly informing all organizers of NGO meetings. New information handling and communications technologies are rapidly revolutionizing information flows in a variety of ways including methods used to manipulate and store information, such as computerized databases; the ways and means of disseminating information (for example), computer-generated reports and listings, computerized communications and access to on-line databases; and the demands and expectations of the end-users. Around the globe, front-line activities require up-to-date information as quickly as possible. Providing effective access to their information is becoming a major focus of activities for many NGOs. In line with its brief the Information, Documentation and Communications Unit will establish a bibliographical database, compile bibliographies (possibly annotated) of NGO publications on specific subjects, organize a workshop on information Management and Dissemination using computer technology, produce a manual on Information Management <<Where there is no librarian>>, initiate a current-periodicals contents service, and link up electronically with other bibliographic databases. In addition to these activities ELCI's specialized unit will publish regular directories and other user-convenient information in proper publication formats. These will include guides (in simplified language, translated into local languages where applicable), briefing papers, audio- visuals, books, occasional features based on material received fron the NGOs (to influence the media) and a video series on local knowledge, associated with sustainable development pracbces. For more details, contact: Environmental Liaison Centre International PO Box 72461 Nairobi KENYA