The Nigerian Environmental Study Action Team (NEST) was founded on 17th July, 1987, in a spontaneous response of participants at a workshop, convened by the Canadian University Service Overseas (CUSO), at the Conference Centre, University of Ibadan, to exposure to actions in other countries in dealing with environmental challenges.
The participants concluded that nothing short of a strong environmental non-governmental organization was needed to begin to address Nigeria's environmental problems at that time. NEST became formally registered in 1989, under the Land (Perpetual Succession) Act (cap 98), as a non-governmental, not-for-profit, non-partisan, research, education, and advocacy organization.
NEST arose out of the observation that the past decades had witnessed numerous negative impacts of human activities on the environment, the adverse effects of such degraded environments on Nigerians, linking environmental degradation tightly to poverty, and the uncomfortable adjustments that many people have had to make in the attempt to survive.
Among the many environmental stresses in the country are those brought about by deforestation, soil erosion, desertification, air and water pollution, water scarcity, floods, urban solid wastes, industrial pollution especially from petroleum production and use, loss of biodiversity, energy crises and general resources degradation, which impact most adversely on disadvantaged groups, particularly the poor, women and children.
NEST has the view that limited knowledge and awareness, weak policies and institutional framework, as well as inappropriate allocation of resources underlie these environmental stresses.
Essentially, NEST is a non-governmental organization, dedicated to improving the ways by which we interact with the environment. NEST is determined to become increasingly self-supporting, though maintaining a compact and efficient organizational profile, with a highly professional and well-motivated staff conscious of the need to generate income while remaining prudent in resource use.
The motivation for the establishment of NEST is deeply rooted in the paradox of 'a natural resources blessed continent wallowing in bewilderment in the throes of poverty and want', especially in the last three decades, to the extent that disturbing pictures of hunger stricken Africans were being flashed on television screens.
Global attention may temporarily shift to areas of current conflicts, but the situation of famine and hunger, drought and desertification, water and wind erosion, and ecologically insensitive exploitation of renewable and non-renewable natural resources persist in Africa.
So, NEST's founding rationale remains largely unaltered.
The organization is composed of the following organs:
- The General Assembly
- Incorporated Trustees
- The Board of Directors
- The Secretariat