Formed in 2000 and legally constituted as a Trust in November 2001 under Notarial Deed of Trust MA1669/2001, the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) is a premier public interest environmental law group based in Zimbabwe. As a public interest non-governmental organisation we seek to promote environmental justice, sustainable and equitable use of natural resources, democracy and good governance in the natural resources and environment sector.
We seek to accomplish our mission through legal and policy research, advocacy, impact litigation, conflict resolution and civic education. Our work spans over helping poor communities to assert and claim their environmental, economic, social and cultural rights within the natural resources and environmental sector. We also seek to ensure that environmental and natural resources management policies, strategies and legal frameworks respond positively to the needs of marginalized women, men and youths living in urban and rural communities. Our work cuts across different environmental sectors such as mining, forest management, wildlife management, water management and provision of adequate social and environmental services in urban areas i.e. safe and adequate drinking water, shelter, energy, waste management services and land for urban agriculture among others. Direct and indirect beneficiaries of our public interest legal services include; rural and urban communities, community based organisations, local authorities, parliamentarians, government departments, industry and civil society organisations. Currently, we have four operational programme areas namely; Extractive Industries (Mining) Programme, Urban Environment Programme, Rural Communities Programme, and Transboundary Natural Resources Management Programme.
In carrying out our work we firmly believe that government and private sector operators have a duty to uphold democratic values, human rights and be transparent and accountable to the people in the extraction and exploitation of natural resources as well as the management of revenues and payments for the benefit of affected communities and the whole nation.