Nayana Udayashankar

Senior Programme Officer – Communities and Resource Governance

Qualifications: The Young India Fellowship, (2013- 2014)

B.Com LL.B (Hons.), Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar (2006-2011)


Profile: Nayana has a degree in law with nine years of experience working in the field of environmental justice and environmental governance. Though formally trained as a litigating lawyer, with a degree in law from Gujarat National Law University in 2011, and as a fellow from the Young India Fellowship (2013-14),  she soon found herself wanting to work more creatively in the field of law. Her interest in environmental law led her to the organization, Natural Justice- Lawyers for Communities and the Environment in 2014. At Natural Justice, Nayana worked with mining affected communities of Odisha on aspects of biocultural community protocols, an emerging concept in environmental jurisprudence. She also facilitated workshops on legal capacity building for communities in Odisha and Rajasthan. 

Between the years 2016-2021, as a part of the organization, Equitable Tourism Options-EQUATIONS, she has critically examined tourism from a development lens and advocated for rights of local communities in the tourism context. She led teams to undertake research and knowledge building, support local self governments and local communities, create and grow networks and advocate policies suited to tourism across landscapes spanning the coasts, protected areas and hills and mountains. Nayana was a part of a collaborative effort to critically examine the emerging concept of Blue Economy and supported with research and documentation the  Independent People’s Tribunal on the implications of the Blue Economy. Among other things, Nayana’s work on tourism has looked at concepts such as Environmental Impact Assessment, Tourism Carrying Capacity and tourism within the framework of Blue Economy in India.  

Nayana’s efforts lie in democratizing environmental governance and as a part of the Communities and Resource Governance team at Dakshin, she looks at the intersection between law, policy and marine and coastal conservation.

Drawing from her long involvement in music and movement, Nayana also likes to make  connections between different systems of knowledge, like art and law, and brings these lessons into her everyday work.