Ecoropa was founded in Geneva in 1976 based on a preceding discourse identifying the following issues of common concern
- Complex ecological interactions are not adequately addressed by addressing only one dimension of an environmental problem.
- Democracy and public information and participation are key at local and national levels. They need to be complemented, however, by international cooperation, wherever impacts cross national borders.
- North-South relations based on respect, fairness and justice are preconditions for long-term successes.
Ecoropa and its members maintained their cooperation throughout the years as a network of networkers on ecological reflection and action addressing emerging issues and emergencies of common concern at the interface between local, national and international levels. The membership varied from 30 – 200 over the years, each of them serving as a provider of information, analysis and contacts within Europe and worldwide.
General profile of activities
Ecoropa has closely followed European environmental policies and legislations. It also consistently followed the Rio-Process on Sustainable Developement, and also climate change, forests, agriculture, new technologies and the environmental and social impacts of trade agreements. The negotiations of the Aarhus Convention on public information, public participation and access to justice in environmental matters are regularly followed and made available to the public.
The Convention on Biological Diversity with its three integrated objectives of conservation of biological diversity, sustainable use and fair and equitable sharing of benefits has a special and close link to the concerns of Ecoropa, i.e. ecology (complex environmental interactions), effective public participation and North-South justice.
Ecoropa is closely cooperating with many other actors and organizations. Many members of Ecoropa are engaged in their work in leading positions (e.g. Friends of the Earth, Birdlife, Econexus, Berne Declaration etc).There is an intensive cooperation at the international level with Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF), Third World Network (TWN), International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity (IIFB), Global Forest Coalition (GFC), CBD Alliance, European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER), German NGO Forum Environment and Development (FUE) as well as with Friends of the Earth International. There is also a vivid exchange with Parliamentarians at national, European and international levels.
Ecoropa members have multiple organisational affiliations – as appropriate for a network of networkers – and register for events not necessarily as members of Ecoropa, notwithstanding their explicit or implicit cooperation. If, however, a member wants to speak on behalf of Ecoropa they need the support of at least one Board member.
Ecoropa has observer status at the Convention on Biological Diversity and its Protocols, as well as at the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and the Aarhus Convention on Public Information, Public Participation and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters.
Ecoropa members cooperate but organize and finance their travels, acitivities and publications independently and not from the Ecoropa account. This account is filled almost exclusively from membership fees and is meant to serve the overdue reinstallment of Ecoropa’s website.