The development of a "green lobby" among NGOs in a country is seen as an important measure for environmental protection. The NGO community, comprising academic and technical groups along with community and affected parties groups represent an important lobbying device to campaign for increased control of pollution and encourage increased resource use on environmental problems. NGO relations to politics, media and the business sector enable the environmental NGOs to build up public support for necessary environmental actions which may otherwise prove difficult to implement.
It is therefore crucial to distinguish between public participation and stakeholder participation, and between public-interest NGOs and other stakeholders. Involvement of all stakeholders is desirable in environmental decision-making processes, with account being taken of their different needs and motivations. However, special attention should be paid to encouraging the participation of public-interest NGOs which are promoting environmental objectives, and to overcoming obstacles to their participation, including resource limitations.
The public and NGOs can: (a) identify concerns and problems at national and local levels, indicating their relative priorities; (b) raise awareness and create "bottom-up" pressure for solutions to problems; (c) provide a counterweight to potential bias in central views; (d) promote an integrated approach to problems; (e) identify local sources of funds and be effective fund-raisers; (f) play a valuable role in monitoring; and (g) spread experience from one area or project to another. In some countries, this last activity is new. Such states require the transfer of knowledge from those with greater experience.