South Asian Forum For Environment

Promotes sustainable development and poverty alleviation through active collaboration and international partnerships, focusing on the science-society interface in the South Asian region

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  • Headquarters

    Kolkata, West Bengal

  • Since


Established in 2004, the South Asian Forum for Environment (SAFE) is a non-profit organisation dedicated to the intersection of science and society, f Read moreocusing on sustainable environmental development and poverty alleviation in the South Asian region. Recognized by the Ministry of Environment Forest & Climate Change and accredited by "NGO Darpan" of Niti Aayog in India, SAFE plays a crucial role in national initiatives like the National Water Mission and National Livelihood Mission. It holds consultative status with UNFCCC, UNDP, World Bank, and ECOSOC, emphasizing the importance of international cooperation. SAFE's core mission is to achieve environmental conservation goals and alleviate poverty through active participation, equitable partnerships, and reciprocal actions. With a focus on Sustainable Development Goals, SAFE fosters proactive collaborations, considering them integral to its approach. The organisation envisions a global partnership and participatory policy framework to promote sustainable environmental development and the wise use of natural resources. Emphasizing collective action in the Indian eco-region, SAFE aims to enrich global climate initiatives, contributing to the nation's commitments on the international stage.


  • Agroforestry and Mangrove Plantation Programme

    Engaging over 7000 households across Eastern and North Eastern areas, SAFE's agroforestry and mangrove plantation initiative spans various regions and activities. Recognized with a national award, SAFE's efforts include post-cyclone agroforestry in West Bengal, watershed agroforestry in Purulia, introducing fruiting plants in Ramsar sites, and pioneering a seed ball campaign for afforestation. The organisation extended its impact to Eastern Bhutan and Western Arunachal Pradesh for forest fire remediation. In ongoing projects, SAFE collaborates with the Global Development Network, GIZ, and Japan Social Development Fund for mangrove restoration in Sundarbans, emphasizing community-based approaches for increased forest cover and climate resilience. Presently, SAFE partners with corporates like Concentrix and HSBC for extensive plantation and carbon stocking in Eastern Indian fallows, with a specific focus on mangrove plantations in the Sundarbans and Bhitarkanika Ramsar sites.

  • Biodiversity Conservation and Wildlife Programme

    SAFE prioritizes biodiversity conservation through initiatives such as conserving endemic fishes in wetlands and safeguarding indigenous rice germplasms in the Sundarbans. It manages a mangrove nursery, protects Horse-Shoe Crabs, and conducts urban floral biodiversity inventories in Kolkata. In the eastern Himalayas, SAFE conserves black-necked crane habitats and, in the UN-Habitat Restoration decade, restores rainforest habitats, supported by the Prince Bernhard Nature Fund. Actively engaged in the Asian Elephant Conservation consortium, SAFE studies animal-man conflict determinants in bio-corridors, fostering collaboration between the forest department and local communities.

  • Conservation of Wetlands & Ecosystem Services

    Prioritizing wetland conservation, SAFE advocates for ecosystem-based adaptation in urban fringes and coastal flood plains, addressing biodiversity, urban poor dependence, and policy gaps. Initiatives include 'Biorights' compensating opportunity costs for wetland conservation through Payments from Ecosystem Services. SAFE aims to sustainably intensify wetland services for marginalized communities, conducting action research through knowledge economy and stakeholder partnerships. The 'Biorights' model, introduced in 2011, highlights circular economic interventions, fostering sustainable human interactions with nature. Conservation interventions provide empirical evidence supporting 'Bio-rights' at the community-ecosystem interface, aligning with climate conventions and sustainable development.

  • Climate Smart Agriculture Programme

    SAFE introduces hydroponic float farming and aquaculture for climate-resilient agriculture in coastal and riverine floodplains. This initiative combines hydroponic technology, solar desalination, and micro-irrigation in collective farming on inundated rural lands, providing alternative livelihoods for indigenous farmers. The innovative design promotes circular technology transfer for risk spreading, leveraging circular economic benefits through agro-waste recycling for sustainable productivity.

    In response to climate vulnerabilities in the Sundarbans, SAFE preserves 54 indigenous rice land races in an in-situ community seed bank. Plot experiments identify high-yield and flood-tolerant varieties distributed to farmers for community seed resilience. Nearly 10 hectares of land now practice organic farming with these seeds. SAFE plans to expand the seed bank's capacity and develop a digital genome library for conservation efforts.

  • WASH Programme

    Since its inception, SAFE actively promotes green energy solutions and sustainable living. Through initiatives like WASH-US (Water Sanitation and Hygiene for Urban Slums) and NEWS (Nonconventional Energy in Water and Sanitation for Urban Poor), SAFE delivers clean drinking water using solar-powered treatment plants, benefiting 35,000 marginalized individuals in West Bengal and North-East India. This integrated solution operates 24x7, utilizing rainwater harvesting, bio-sanitation, and bio-gas units in a circular model. The innovative circular design of SAFE's solar WASH projects ensures a sustainable, gender-equitable, and climate-adaptive lifestyle for urban poor communities with minimal emission footprint, aligning with the organization's commitment to green energy and holistic well-being.

Leadership Team

  • Dr. Dipayan Dey


  • Chiranjeet Chatterjee

    Director - Programmes

  • Amrita Chatterjee

    Director - Communications


  • Internal, External Assessors



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  • Headquarters

    176A, Vivekananda Park, Mukundapur, Kolkata, 700099


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