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Environment Liaison Centre International (ELCI) was conceived at the dawn of the modern environmental movement when global apprehension over the state of the planet’s ecosystem reached its tipping point. Pressure from Civil Society Groups around the world led the United Nations to convene a Conference on the Human Environment in 1972 (UNCHE or Stockholm Conference).
One result of the conference was the creation of an International Assembly of UN-accredited Non-Governmental Organizations (INASEN) to follow up UNCHE from a civil society perspective. INASEN’s crowning achievement was to open an NGO Environment Service Centre in Nairobi in 1974. The centre went on to become a formal non-profit organization in 1976 and, in 1987, was renamed the Environment Liaison Centre International (ELCI), a Global Coalition [of NGOs] for Environment and Development.
Key historical figures were instrumental in ELCI’s creation including Margaret Mead, the famous American Anthropologist; Barbara Ward, founder of the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), and one of the world’s most outstanding writers and speakers on environment and development issues; and Henrik Beer, Secretary-General of the League of Red Cross Societies known today as the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
ELCI was established with a number of objectives including advising NGOs on issues being raised by NGOs before UNEP and the Governing Council; promoting the participation of NGOs from the South; encouraging the development of information and service centres in the world; taking inventory of the human, technical and financial resources of NGOs and UNEP, facilitating direct communication and utilisation of resources among NGOs and between NGOs and UNEP; and providing staff support for the preparation of global NGO meetings.