A brief introduction to Nivela.org

The time has come to challenge conventional wisdom on development. Here is why.

Why now?

Environmental efforts are failing to change the course of economics and politics underpinning development as usual. Positive precedents have taken place – through voluntary and legislative actions that promote environmental and climate targets – and yet our economies have never been so unsustainable. Natural resources are over exploited, our energy systems are harming the global climate and urban pollution hurts millions of people. Corruption and inequality lie at the core of escalating street unrest and exasperate a generation of youth facing a future of unequal opportunity. Abstentionism is on the rise as citizens reject governments for their inability or unwillingness to fight for the public good. While voter dissatisfaction is not new, the difference is that today citizens are leveraging social media to defend their rights and to demand accountability in politics and business. The combination of public mistrust and citizen empowerment requires new approaches to integrating sustainability into national decisions. Now is the time to spur new coalitions among voters, citizen groups, social and business entrepreneurs, activists, low-carbon innovators and progressive thinkers. So what comes up next? Nivela’s response is to contest conventional wisdom, work with others advancing new thinking ondevelopment that works for people and the environment.

We use multidisciplinary analysis and reflections from the ground to spur changes in how environmental, climate and socio-economic goals are integrated in our countries’ pursuit of prosperity.

What does Nivela do?

We produce analysis and political strategy. We build alliances. We offer alternatives through our writing and work on the ground, locally and internationally. In 2014 we will concentrate on:

  1. Political economy analysis and insights: This year we are looking into presidential elections in our countries and analyzed how politicians and media handled climate and sustainability and we explored ideas that can help turn climate and environmental into a top priority in the politics. Between March and the end of this year we will publish our results.This month we launched our website with the analysis from Brazil, India, South Africa, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico and The Philippines. Other countries will be added throughout the year.
  2. New coalitions and decarbonization commitments : We map the emergence of new domestic coalitions (beyond the environmental community) that support political and policy change to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and increase our resilience to climate impacts. We also assess the adequacy of our national climate commitments in the prospects of a global climate deal in 2015.We will kick start this analysis in May 2014.
  3. Narrative shifts”: We combine our work on (2) and (3) by re-framing traditional notions portraying climate protection and development as clashing goals.We turn this idea upside down by providing analysis that aims to shift our debates toward new narratives that articulate why climate and environmental protection advance development and the public interest.We will kick start this analysis in May 2014.

How do we work?

Nivela is lean, virtual and pragmatic. We operate through a strategy group made of senior experts and advocates who are active domestically and belong to regional or international networks. A small team is in charge of execution. This model allows our strategy team members to be grounded locally while leveraging Nivela’s international reach. We also work with associates and guest authors. Our goal is to channel most of our resources toward content-generation and strategy work and to keep the operations team as small as possible.We will actively promote our content in national and regional online outlets, local newspapers and magazines and the active use of social media.

In 2013, we received a grant contribution from the European Climate Foundation's International Policy and Politics Initiative to fund the design of Nivela and our first series on climate and elections. ECF supports the independence of our work, and does not influence our analysis and strategies. We also benefit from the pro-bono work by some partners and guests authors and friendly fees by services providers who support Nivela’s mission. Further philanthropic contributions are needed and will be sought this year.

We hope you will become a frequent user of our analysis and proposals.This is the time to challenge conventional wisdom and empower new thinking and voices on development that works for people and the environment.

Upcoming article sneak peek

What to Expect on Climate from Latin America's New Presidents?