Our Logo

Our New logo
After careful and thoughtful design, ERA is proud to introduce to all its brand new and exciting logo.
It shows people standing in solidarity, hands linked together, determined to defend their environmental/human rights.
The "legs" represent our roots and shows how firmly we are rooted in the earth. And the green? Naturally stands for our life and the environment.
Thus, the message is clear.... the environment is our life ... Let's defend it!!!


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About ERA
Wednesday, 26 July 2006
Environmental Rights Action (ERA) is a Nigerian advocacy non-governmental organisation founded on January 11, 1993 to deal with environmental human rights issues in Nigeria. ERA is the Nigerian chapter of Friends of the Earth International (FoEI), the world environmental justice federation campaigning to protect the environment and to create sustainable societies. ERA is the co-ordinating NGO in Africa for Oilwatch International, the global South network of groups concerned about the effects of oil on the environment of people who leave in oil-bearing regions. ERA is the premier winner of the Sophie Prize.


The organisation is dedicated to the defence of human ecosystems in terms of human rights, and to the promotion of environmentally responsible governmental, commercial, community and individual practice in Nigeria through the empowerment of local people. It describes itself as having two purposes:

• to act as a peaceful pressure group, campaigning for change in the policies of governmental, non-governmental and commercial organisations where those policies are likely to act against environmental human rights; and
• to enable local people to defend their environmental human rights in law.


ERA is bound together and guided by a philosophy which avoids moral ambiguity when approaching problems of human ecology. This philosophy is not a rigid dogma, but a guide based upon the seven beliefs described below.


Article 24 of the African Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights states that:

All people shall have the right to (a) generally satisfactory environment favourable to their development

ERA believes that a respect for all forms of life is an essential foundation to human happiness. In other words, a genuine concern for human kind and our habitat depends upon a respect for other animals and their habitats, and upon recognition of the importance of diversity. Human kind cannot achieve happiness in a degraded environment; living in harmony with other forms of life (as in some traditional relationships between people and their environment) is in itself a human rights. Furthermore, every individual and responsible human being has an equal right to happiness, regardless of his or her wealth.


This concept is central to the ERA philosophy.
Because of humankind’s growing dominance of the Biosphere, all eco-systems are now ultimately human ecosystems. Ecological problems arise when an ecosystem is seen, in ignorance, as something separate from humankind.


Conservation is the wise use of natural resources with due regard for the rights of generations yet unborn. The best conservators, with the most practical and genuine interest in the future of the local environment, will be local people.


This was articulated in Agenda 21 of the 1992 Earth Summit. The Summit brought together more heads of government than any previous meeting in history, to focus world attention on environmental issues – the most critical issues we face as global community. Agenda 21 is the global plan of action adopted to address those issues.

The real hallmark of the Earth Summit was the emphasis on broad public participation, and the success of Agenda 21 depends on the continued participation of the public in decisions that affect their lives, both nationally and internationally.

Agenda 21 states that sustainable development is the way to reverse both poverty and environment destruction. Achieving this will demand broad public participation in policy development, combined with greater accountability; individuals, groups and organisations need to know about, and participate in environment and development issues affecting their communities.

Thus ERA agrees that:
Sustainable Development
= Participation + Wealth + Knowledge
= Empowerment of Local People
= Conservation

Wealth creation without local knowledge and participation does not equal sustainable development. If local people are kept ignorant and unable to participate in or benefit from the creation of wealth, environmental degradation will result. Poor people may even directly damage the environment, if they cannot afford to think about tomorrow. Sustainable development of local communities, involving the elimination of absolute poverty and of gross income inequity, is therefore vital to any real conservation.


ERA believes this is the key to sustainable development and conservation. ERA aims to achieve this through the establishment of Community Resource Centres (CRCs). These are initiated with the help of NGOs, but are ultimately maintained by the communities themselves. Once established, a good CRC will be a focus for the accumulation and use of knowledge, and for the creation of wealth. It may also enable the community to attract any available aid funding and help. CRCs can become centres of innovation, but essentially they are places where community members (as individuals or as groupings) can empower themselves with knowledge and access the tools of communication to make things happen.
‘Local people’ may of course include immigrants, if they define themselves as local and see their future and that of their children as being bound up with the locality.


People living in a locality have an investment in its long-term future. Outsiders, whether in government or non-government agencies, are more likely to be interested in short and medium-term considerations. Outside interests may have rights that must be taken into considerations. However, local interests are more likely than any others to be concerned about genuine conservation and must take priority when decisions are being made.


ERA believes that sustainable development and equitable wealth creation depends upon Fair Trade. Local producers must receive a fair price for their products in relation to final market prices; for this to happen, they must be more closely linked to those markets and have knowledge of them.


These seven beliefs are fundamental to ERA’s approach to environmental human rights, and explain the importance of ERA’s approach to environmental human rights, and explain the importance of ERA as a grass-roots organisation based on:

• the Community Resource Centres;
• individuals who share and can demonstrate a commitment to ERA beliefs; and
• any community, group, non-governmental or non-commercial orgnisation that shares and can demonstrate a commitment to ERA beliefs.


ERA is open to membership from all parts of Nigeria. Membership is independent of the centre but cannot be independent of the philosophy. Membership is built around projects and communities. We work with volunteers.


ERA works on eight broad themes, categorised into: Natural Resources Conservation; Energy and Mining; Environmental Education and Training; Democracy Outreach; Trade and Development; Gender; Media and Publications; and Legal Resources.


The governance of ERA is through a Management Board whose members are in the main volunteers. There exists an Executive Committee charged with the responsibility of executing ERA programmes.


• Oilwatching in South America: A Pollution Tour of Venezuela, Curacao, Peru and Ecuador by Nnimmo Bassey, 1997.
• The Human Ecosystems of the Niger Delta: An ERA Handbood by Nick Ashton-Jones, et al, 1998.
• Environmental Testimonies, 2000
• Pipe Dream: The West African Gas Pipeline and the Environment, 2000
• The Emperor Has No Clothes: Report of the Conference on the Peoples of the Niger Delta and the 1999 Constitution, 2000.
• Where Vultures Feast: 40 Years of Shell in the Niger Delta by Ike Okonta and Oronto Douglas, 2001.
• Bola Oyinbo (1965-2001): The Struggle Continues! 2001
• Death and Destruction: The Tobacco Attack on Nigeria, 2002
• We thought it was Oil but it was blood (Poems) by Nnimmo Bassey, 2002
• A Blanket of Silence: Images of the Odi genocide, 2002
• Empowerment in Action by Godwin Ojo (ed.), 2003
• Before the Earth Bleeds Again by Godwin Ojo and Akinbode Oluwafemi (eds.), 2004
• Environmental Laws of Nigeria: A Critical Review by Godwin Ojo and Jaiyeoba Gaskia (eds.), 2004
• A Wedge in the Wood by Godwin Uyi Ojo and Jaiyeoba Gaskia (eds.), 2004

ERA also publishes:
• Field Reports
• Monitor Reports
• Environmental Testimonies
• Niger Delta Alert (Bulletin of ERA’s Delta Information Service)
• ERAction (Official Magazine of ERA/FoEN)


© 2008 Environmental Rights Action / Friends of the Earth, Nigeria
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