Jagdeesh Puppala

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= engaged with the Foundation of Ecological Security, since March 2001 as Chief Executive


"Areas of interest and involvement include conservation of forests and water, land-use, land degradation, semi-arid and dryland ecosystems, decentralized governance of natural resources, poverty and discrimination, the political economy of common property resources, Bioregional Planning and Landuse studies.

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: Essentially a practitioner, began professional life with the Foundation of Ecological Security - from its inception as a Pilot project in 1986 to its present state where it is spread over 1800 villages across nine different ecological and socio-economic settings within India.

From 1986 to 1990, been a member of an interdisciplinary team, was involved in understanding the complexities and dynamics involved in a semi arid, agrarian life on issues such as degradation of land, the politics of land and labour, farming systems and socio-cultural dimensions. Applied participatory approaches to revegetate degraded lands enhancing the involvement of local communities in decision making, and evolving village level institutions to govern common property resources.

Served as the Team Leader of the Project from 1990 to 1995 and contributed in designing intensive reflection processes within the team and subsequently in the organisation on the basic precepts on development by relooking at farmers’ knowledge and realities and relating it to the attitude and approaches of development practitioners. Conducted workshops to promote interaction between NGOs and District Officials, State and Central Government Officials to develop conservation and people friendly policies on natural resource management. Contributed to the development of Watershed guidelines of the Government of India (1994). Was also involved in the designing of bilateral projects on watershed development for Canadian International Development Agency and Swedish International Development Agency.

During the period 1996 to March 2001, headed the Project Support Group, the core strategic planning and coordination unit of the Organisation. Was involved in coordinating the activities of the teams in all (ten) Project locations and helping in the articulation of field imperatives into policies of the Organisation. Was responsible for the implementation of the Tree Growers’ Cooperatives Project, a USD 17 million initiative, jointly supported by Canadian International Development Agency and Swedish International Development Agency. Steered an intensive exercise on reorienting the Organisation to move towards a river basin perspective placing primacy on ecological and social dimensions in determining appropriate land use.

Was appointed as the Chief Executive of the organization in March 2001 and has been involved in contributing to the vision and direction of the organization drawing from both changes at the policy level and organizational experiences gained from the different project areas. Has been actively undertaking advocacy and lobbying efforts and including securing lease on the fallow and wastelands for the purpose of undertaking ecorestoration measures. Has also served as a member of various Government Committees, prominent being the Working Group on Forests, the Task Force on Public Private Partnership for Watershed Development Program both for the 11th Five Year Plan; and the Working Group of the Sub Committee of National Development Council on Agriculture and Related Issues on Dryland / Rainfed Farming Systems including Regeneration of Degraded Wasteland, Watershed Development Programs”. Also anchoring the Rainfed Livestock Network, an initiative of a consortium of Indian organizations working on livestock issues aimed at synthesizing lessons for policy advocacy and programmatic action for livestock development in arid and semi-arid areas.

The pivotal role has been to strengthen the organizational efforts towards the conservation and restoration of land, water and other natural resources and to set in place the processes of coordinated human effort and governance to this end.


  • Coordinating of the Global Environment Facility’s NGO Network in South Asia in the capacity as Regional Focal Point for the South Asia since 2007, and also as the Chair of the Governance Committee of the GEF NGO Network.
  • Governing Council member of Bankers Institute of Rural Development (BIRD)
  • Board member of K-Link, a Kutch based organization engaged integrating Information and communication technology for Development
  • Steering committee member of Natural Resource management Centre (NRMC) constituted under the aegis of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).

Engagement with the Commons

A note on ‘Info on Expertise Concerning Specific Commons Related Thematics’

a.) Advocating for positioning the commons in the larger landscape and within the prevailing ecological, social and economic perspective.

b.) Discussing structural aspects to represent the underprivileged and tilt institutional arrangements with a positive bias towards them.

c.) Building a policy initiative to safeguard commons from the exploitative markets.

d.) Leading a discussion on ‘Commons Initiative’ to influence the governments for initiating the policy level discussion on the commons. ‘Commons Initiative’ is an initiative launched with the background of the 13th IASC Biennial Conference.

Publications and Supporting Websites