Equator Prize 2008 Special Recognition
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Special recognition was awarded in each area of geographic eligibility (Latin America and the Carribbean, Africa, and Asia and the Pacific), tothe community that best exemplifies community approaches in adaptation to climate change, and to the initiative that best exemplifies theconservation of agricultural biodiversity. “Special recognition”communities received a total of US $20,000.


Wechiau Community Hippo Sanctuary (WCHS)

WCHS protects the resident hippopotamus population along the Black VoltaRiver in northern Ghana. The sanctuary is operated by a management board that represents over ten thousand people from 17 communities. Along with the hippopotamus population, the reserve is home to over 500 other animal species. In its conservation efforts, two distinct zones have been demarcated: one a protected area close to the river for the hippopotamuses, another for the human population. This model have been replicated in neighbouring communities seeking to derive economic benefits from protecting their local biodiversity. Revenues from the sanctuary are invested into the provision of safe drinking water, literacy and higher education initiatives, and solar electricity projects.

Asia & the Pacific

Community Development Centre (CDC)

The Community Development Centre conserves close to sixty indigenous varieties of roots and yams, using these traditional crops to generate income for local farmers. Through equitable benefit sharing, knowledge exchange, and seed banks, CDC works towards community empowerment and overall sustainability. Direct beneficiaries include over 300 households, with a high percentage of women. Worm farming and composting from local cultivation provide two additional forms of income. The fact that CDC farms serve as training centres, seed banks, and the site of knowledge exchanges has meant that the CDC model can and has been effectively replicated as a sustainable, low-technology
initiative across Sri Lanka.

Latin America & the Caribbean

Artisans Association of Arbolsol and Huaca de Barro of the Morrope District
Founded by local women in 2003, Asociación de Artesanas de Arbolsol y Huaca de Barro del distrito de Mórrope has worked to recover traditional methods of cotton production that are environmentally responsible and create positive socio-economic change in the region. The association oversees the planting and harvesting of native cotton varieties, using only organic pesticides. In addition to cotton production, the association has been active in managing water resources. Traditional colours of native cotton have been recovered, water resources have been cleaned as a result of better management, and organic cotton is produced for local markets. The group, which began as a women’s organization, has now expanded to include the whole community.

Adaptation to Climate Change

The Indonesian Community-based Marine Management Foundation (PLKL)
PLKL supports communities in Papua, West Papua, and the Moluccan Islands in administering their marine resources through traditional tenure management systems, known as sasi. The foundation has been successful at creating community-based marine management areas that conserve local biodiversity, increase resource abundance, and improve incomes. PLKL has supported over 20 communities in the creation of community-based marine management areas and is serving as a model for replication through regional site visits and networking programs. Through targeted training and technical support, community-based management in the region has resulted in population growth among endemic species central to local ecosystems and livelihoods.

Agricultural Biodiversity

Union of Farming and Indigenous Organizations of Cotacachi
UNORCAC is an organization of 3,225 Quichua families that is dedicated to improving the quality of life of indigenous Ecuadorians. The group focuses its work on the conservation of agricultural biodiversity, the reintroduction and maintenance of traditional cultural practices, and comprehensive community participation. UNORCAC focuses on local capacity building in three areas: apiculture, ethno-tourism, and high-value crops (in particular, blackberries). A critical achievement of the organization has been the reintroduction of traditional crops and medicinal plants, a process of cultural renewal that has also resulted in the valuation of over 130 native plant species. Local incomes have risen dramatically and community members now grow more than half of their own food.