Deutsch: Nichtregierungsorganisationen / Español: Organizaciones no gubernamentales / Português: Organizações não governamentais / Français: Organisations non gouvernementales / Italiano: Organizzazioni non governative

A Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) in the environmental context refers to an independent entity that operatea without direct governmental oversight or affiliation and is primarily focused on environmental conservation, advocacy, and awareness. These organisations play a crucial role in driving environmental policies, research, and education at both local and global levels.


Environmental NGOs vary widely in their scope and impact, ranging from local community groups dedicated to preserving a particular natural area to international organisations that operate across national boundaries and have significant influence on global environmental policies. They are typically funded by private donations, grants, and membership dues, and may also engage in fundraising activities to support their initiatives.

These organisations are often involved in various activities including lobbying for environmental legislation, conducting research, spreading awareness about ecological issues, organizing community cleanup events, engaging in direct action, and working with governments and corporations to promote sustainability. Environmental NGOs are essential advocates for the planet, pushing for changes that might otherwise be neglected in the political arena.

Application Areas

Environmental NGOs are active in numerous fields such as:

Well-Known Examples

Notable environmental NGOs include:

  • Greenpeace, internationally known for its direct action and advocacy efforts against environmental degradation.
  • World Wildlife Fund (WWF), famous for its efforts in wildlife conservation and endangered species protection.
  • Friends of the Earth, which advocates for sustainable environmental policies across the globe.

Treatment and Risks

While environmental NGOs are pivotal in the fight against ecological degradation, they face challenges such as dependency on fluctuating funding sources, political pressure, and sometimes opposition from powerful industrial interests. Additionally, their effectiveness can vary widely depending on their leadership, strategy, and the political and economic environment in which they operate.

Critics sometimes accuse NGOs of being too Western-centric or not sufficiently inclusive of the communities they purport to help, raising questions about their approach to environmental justice and local engagement.

Similar Terms

  • Community-based organization (CBO): Smaller, typically more local organizations that work at a grassroots level to address environmental issues in their immediate areas.
  • International environmental organizations: Larger entities that operate across national borders to address global environmental issues.


Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in the environmental sector are vital players in the global effort to address and mitigate environmental challenges. Through advocacy, education, and direct action, these organizations push for sustainable changes and help shape a more ecologically conscious society.


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