Equator Initiative selects winners for global biodiversity conservation Prize

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Equator Initiative, a United Nations-led partnership that supports grassroots efforts in biodiversity conservation and poverty alleviation, has selected 25 winners of the Equator Prize 2008.

Chosen from 310 nominations, the winners embody innovation in astonishing variety, from mariculture to apiculture, eco-tourism to ethno-tourism, afforestation to mangrove restoration, oyster farming to cotton farming, seed banks to micro-credit lending, and elephant to hippo protection.

"The recipients of the Equator Prize 2008 are role models for communities across the globe," said Ms. Veerle Vandeweerd, Director of the Environment and Energy Group of UNDP, in advance of the ceremony. "Local groups are on the front lines of conservation and poverty reduction and it is critical that we recognize their sustainable practices and use their successes as a compass for policy formation. The Equator Initiative does just this, awarding outstanding leadership that reduces poverty through conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity."

Each Equator Prize 2008 winner is testament to the linkages between ecosystem health and human well-being, to the indivisibility of conservation and poverty reduction as policy objectives, and to the significant contributions that local and indigenous communities are making to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

All 25 winners will be recognized at a high-level award ceremony on Monday, October 6, 2008 at the World Conservation Congress in Barcelona, Spain where they will receive a prize of US $5,000. The ceremony will feature speeches by Ted Turner (Chair of the United Nations Foundation), Mark Tercek (CEO of The Nature Conservancy), and Veerle Vandeweerd (UNDP Director of Environment and Energy). 
In addition, five communities will receive “special recognition” and a total award of US $20,000.   Special recognition will be awarded in three geographical regions (Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia and the Pacific), to the initiative that best exemplifies community approaches in adaptation to climate change, and to the initiative that best exemplifies the conservation of agricultural biodiversity.

Members of the press are invited to attend the award ceremony but, due to limited seating, we request that they RSVP (dinner@equatorinitiative.org). 

Equator Prize 2008 winners:


1. Centre d'Appui au Développement Intégral/Mbankana (CADIM) – Democratic Republic of the Congo
2. Wechiau Community Hippo Sanctuary – Ghana
3. Kijabe Environment Volunteers (KENVO) – Kenya
4. Ketu Training Centre for Sustainable Development – Kenya
5. N≠ a Jaqna Conservancy - Namibia
6. Fédération Régionale des Groupements de Promotion Féminine Ziguinchor – Senegal
7. Ujamaa Community Resource Trust – Tanzania
8. Community Markets for Conservation - Zambia

Asia & the Pacific

9. Tmatboey Community Protected Area Committee – Cambodia
10.The Indonesian Community-based Marine Management Foundation - Indonesia      
11.Conservation Society of Pohnpei - Federated States of Micronesia      
12.Camalandaan Agroforest Farmers Association – Philippines
13.Arnavon Community Marine Conservation Area Management Committee -Solomon Islands      
14. Community Development Centre - Sri Lanka
15. Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society - Sri Lanka
16. Nguna-Pele Marine Protected Area - Vanuatu

Latin America & the Caribbean

17. Cooperativa Agro-extrativista Yawanawa - COOPYAWA – Brazil
18. Polo de Proteção da Biodiversidade e Uso Sustentável dos Recursos Naturais – Brazil
19. Asociación de Apicultores de la Reserva de Tariquía AART – Bolivia
20. Chalalan Albergue Ecológico – Bolivia
21. Asociación de Productores Indígenas y Campesinos de Riosucio Caldas Asproinca – Colombia
22. Corporación Serraniagua – Colombia
23. Unión de Organizaciones Campesinas e Indígenas de Cotacachi - Ecuador
24. Asociación de Artesnas de Arbolsol y Huaca de Barro del Distrito de Mórrope – Perú
25. Asociación de Pobladores por el Progreso y Desarrollo de Campo Amor Zarumilla – Perú

About the Equator Prize 2008

The winners, established by a technical advisory committee, were determined based on demonstrated environmental and socio-economic impacts, creative partnerships, innovation and transferability, sustainability, local leadership, community empowerment, social inclusion, and gender equality.  Whether through the reintroduction of traditional knowledge, the application of new technology, or a fusion of both, in each instance community initiative was the engine for addressing biodiversity loss in a way that improved local livelihoods. The five special recognition communities will be selected by an eminent jury of distinguished professionals from the environment and development world and announced the evening of October 6, 2008.

About the Equator Initiative

Launched on 30 January 2002, the Equator Initiative is a partnership that brings together the United Nations, civil society, business, governments and communities to help build the capacity and raise the profile of grassroots efforts to reduce poverty through the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. The world's greatest concentrations of biological wealth are found in the equatorial region, in countries that also have some of the highest levels of poverty. The Equator Initiative champions and supports community efforts to link economic development and income generation with the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

Partners: The Government of Canada, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Conservation International, Ecoagriculture Partners, Fordham University, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, International Development Research Centre, International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), The Nature Conservancy, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, RARE, United Nations Foundation.