The Equator Prize is awarded biennially to recognize outstanding community efforts to reduce poverty through the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. Local and indigenous groups across the tropics are charting a path towards sustainable development. The Equator Prize is designed to shine a spotlight on these leading grassroots efforts by celebrating them on an international stage.
Equator Prize winners are selected based on the following criteria:
Impact: Initiatives that reduce poverty through the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, or through equitable benefit sharing from the use of genetic resources.
Leadership and Community Empowerment: Initiatives that demonstrate leadership that inspires action and change consistent with the vision of the Equator Initiative, including policy and/or institutional change and the empowerment of local people, especially marginalized groups.
Gender Equality and Social Inclusion: Initiatives that incorporate social and cultural diversity and promote gender equality.
Equator Prize nominations are accepted from three regions of eligibility within the equatorial belt (23.5 degrees north and south of the equator): Asia and the Pacific, Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean. A Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) selects the twenty-five Equator Prize winners, a pool that is further narrowed to five special recognition communities by an eminent jury of leading conservation and development professionals. Representatives of winning communities are sometimes sponsored to participate in Equator Initiative “dialogue spaces” and a high-level award ceremony.
In addition to worldwide recognition for their work, a monetary award, and an opportunity to shape national and global policy, all nominees are invited to join the Community Knowledge Service (CKS) and are profiled in the Equator Knowledge Zone (EKZ) database of practice.