Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA), Dhaka

BELA started its journey in 1993 as an advocacy group in the field of environment. Since then, it has become an important change-maker in legal reform especially in the field of environmental justice and jurisprudence. Over the years, BELA has played a pioneering role in popularizing the concept of ‘environmental justice’ in the country, developing strategies to accord legal protection to people affected by environmental degradation.

The organization has adopted various means to create awareness about environmental laws and to activate responsible agencies in performing their legal duties. It was after a BELA-initiated case in 1997 that the Supreme Court of Bangladesh recognized the concept of Public Interest Litigation (PIL) that enabled millions of voice-less people to access the formal justice system through representative civil society organizations (CSOs) and individual public-interested litigants.


Ensuring environmental protection through due processes of law.

Anthropocentric environmentalism that seeks conservation inclusive of the natural resource dependent poor.

Community empowerment and protection of natural resources and environmental rights in a just, equitable and gender-sensitive way.

Upholding the rights of people, particularly the poor and the women, to their environmental entitlements.


BELA considers itself an organization that:

Believes in and follows a rights-based approach to not only the environment but development in general;

Believes in and upholds principles of equity; and Strives to attain women’s rights and entitlements in environmental justice.

Developing awareness of environmental rights and entitlements as well as the capacity to make changes in environmental governance through awareness campaigns.

Training of various stakeholders, initiating and pursuing policy advocacy through multiple modes, and litigation to ensure environmental justice.