Press release: Rohini Nilekani donates Rs 5 crores to ATREE

Wed, 11/03/2010 - 16:00 - 20:00

Nov 3, 2010, Bangalore International Centre
Occasion: Panel discussion on Civil Society Institutions and Environmental Governance, and felicitation of donor, Rohini Nilekani

Rohini Nilekani Gifts 5 Crores to Environmental and Conservation Organization, ATREE

Rohini Nilekani, Bangalore’s noted philanthropist, announced a gift of Rs 5 crores to the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), Bangalore. Ms. Nilekani, Chairperson of the Arghyam Foundation, has been one of ATREE’s important donors, and serves on the Board of Trustees of ATREE. “Our country is facing huge environmental challenges. We need both policy reform and better governance to address these challenges. ATREE is one of the few organizations in the country that generates new knowledge about the environment and uses this knowledge to make policy recommendations and improve governance.” said Rohini Nilekani.

“We are witnessing unprecedented changes in biodiversity and ecosystem services that sustain most, if not all, of our economic endeavors. ATREE will further invest in its programs to assess and monitor changes in biodiversity, ecosystems services -- especially hydrology and water, and agriculture as well as linkages among these components at selected sites, that could serve as a model for a national program,” said Kamal Bawa, President, ATREE. “The gift comes at a time when ATREE has just launched a new five year strategic plan to strengthen its programs in biodiversity and ecosystem services, forests and governance, water and land resources, and climate change and how environmental changes will affect human well being,” added Gladwin Joseph, Director of ATREE.

The gift, according to Rohini Nilekani, will be specifically used to ensure that significant research findings reach the intended stakeholders in government and society to bring about change. It will be used to drive ATREE’s outreach and advocacy strategy in advancing good environmental governance at various scales.

“Applied research on biodiversity, ecosystem services and land and water resources and interactions among these parameters by themselves will not be enough to mitigate environmental changes. ATREE will strengthen its work on policy linkages and analyses related to biodiversity conservation, land use and water, and restoration of degraded ecosystems. Moreover, ATREE will pay special attention to environmental governance, in reference to India’s commitment to the
Convention of Biological Diversity, the implications of the Green India mission and cross-cutting impacts of the Forest Recognition of Rights Act and REDD+(Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation),” added Gladwin Joseph.

The announcement was made at a panel discussion on Civil Society Institutions and Environmental Governance. The panelists were Ms. Kalpana Sharma (ex-Bureau Chief of The Hindu, Mumbai), Shri B.M.S. Rathore (Joint Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests), and Shri Ganesan Balachander (member of the CGIAR Consortium Board and former representative, Ford Foundation). The topic of the panel discussion was meant to draw attention to the active and inclusive role that civil society institutions can play to bring about changes in environment and environmental governance.


ATREE, based in Bangalore, but with programs all over India, is one of the country’s premier environmental and conservation organizations. The organization aims to use research to strengthen society's capacity to protect the environment and foster equitable development. ATREE's mission is to promote socially just environmental conservation and sustainable development by generating rigorous interdisciplinary knowledge that engages actively with academia, policy makers, practitioners, activists, students and wider public audiences. Read more on

About Rohini Nilekani

An ex-journalist, a writer and a philanthropist, Rohini Nilekani has been deeply involved in development issues for many years now. Rohini is the Chairperson and founder of Arghyam, which she setup with a private endowment in 2001. She has co-founded Pratham Books, a non-profit publishing enterprise to produce high quality, low cost books for children in several Indian languages. She is on the Board of Directors of Pratham India Education Initiative (PIEI).

Please contact Meetu Desai (Communication Manager, ATREE)at +919902962935,; or Satyadeep Rajan (Director, Development, ATREE) at +919845004756, fro more information.