Himalayan Advocacy Center
The Himalayan Advocacy Center is a public interest environmental law firm founded in 2021 by Utkarsh Jain, an environmental lawyer from New Delhi. His research and practice experience have both been focused on public interest environmental law and access to justice. In the past, he has worked on key lawsuits raising serious concerns with construction of cities, airports, dams, power plants, and operation of stone and sand mines across India. In doing so, he had an opportunity to work with various communities and organizers, strengthening his belief in grassroots lawyering. The Center is a two member team of Utkarsh Jain and Juliana Wilson Cecilia, who is from Rosario, Argentina, currently studying Agroecology in Universidad Nacional De Rio Negro, El Bolson.
The Center has been created to fill three critical gaps in legal practice in India, and also in the larger Hindu Kush Himalayan region. First, legal practice is highly concentrated in the metropolitan city, even if it is in the nature of public interest. Second, legal practitioners are more often than not, hesitant to be open to collaboration with other disciplines, despite the nature of problems at hand, which demand more system-wide research and redress approaches. Most importantly, there is no collaborative grassroots legal advocacy organization devoted to the third pole or the Hindu Kush Himalayan Region. All three are deeply concerning considering India's rich decentralized democracy, and the sheer danger that the Himalayas face today, due to factors such as climate change, construction, agricultural intensification, and grazing.