Equator Prize 2004 Special Recognition
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The Equator Prize 2004 Jury has selected the following seven outstanding community initiatives for recognition with the Equator Prize 2004. These communities received their Prizes and international recognition at an Awards Ceremony held on 19 February 2004 at the Seventh Conference of Parties (COP7) to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Drawn from a pool of over 340 total nominations and 26 remarkable finalists, these communities represent outstanding achievement in the reduction of poverty through the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

In recognition of outstanding community efforts for poverty reduction and biodiversity conservation:
Proyecto Nasa - Colombia
Comunidad Indigena de Nuevo San Juan Parangaricutiro - Mexico
Genetic Resource, Energy, Ecology and Nutrition (GREEN) Foundation- India
Bunaken National Park Management Advisory Board (BNPMAB) and Bunaken Concerned Citizen's Forum (FMPTNB)- Indonesia
Rufiji Environment Management Project (REMP-MUMARU) - Tanzania
Torra Conservancy - Namibia

In recognition of an outstanding community initiative associated with a World Heritage Site:
Sociedade Civil Mamirauá - Brazil


Proyecto Nasa – Colombia
This project takes its roots in a vigorous community of Colombia's indigenous Paez people. Together, they sustainably manage a territory of 49,000 hectares, partially located within the Nevada del Huila Biosphere Reserve on the Colombia-Ecuador border. Since 1980 they have courageously worked to incorporate holistic strategies for natural and cultural preservation into daily life – while in the midst of civil strife and violence from conflicts in their region. To achieve these goals, the project has launched a wide range of programmes designed to promote the overall health of the community and their natural environment. These activities include environmental education and the promotion of traditional medicinal and agroforestry techniques. The project's activities, while reaping rewards for both human and environmental health, are funded creatively through the sale of environmentally friendly products, such as juices and objects crafted from artisanal marble. "Nasa", a Paez word meaning 'living being', also describes the language of the people.

Comunidad Indigena de Nuevo San Juan Parangaricutiro – Mexico
This innovative Mexican community of indigenous peoples collectively owns 11,000 hectares of forest in the richly biodiverse state of Michoacán. For over twenty years, the community has maintained a wide range of successful eco-enterprises based on sustainable forestry, the creation of eco-friendly timber products (including production of furniture and resins), ecotourism, agroforestry and wildlife management.
These enterprises have provided a boost to local incomes while ensuring that the resource base upon which the community depends is sustained for future generations. Reassuringly, the community's successes have spread well beyond their origins as these novel conservation and business practices have been widely adopted by other indigenous communities in Mexico.

Genetic Resource, Energy, Ecology and Nutrition (GREEN) Foundation- India
Over its eleven-year history, GREEN Foundation has harnessed traditional knowledge of agricultural practices and seed diversity to create highly successful seed and gene banks throughout the state of Karnataka. Working primarily with a network of women's farming groups called sanghas, GREEN Foundation has improved food security through the creation of a farmer-based community seed supply system and through establishment of home gardens. In doing so, the foundation has forged a number of valuable partnerships between farmers and scientists. To date, GREEN Foundation has helped establish 31 community seed banks and, as a result, the number of farmers in Karnataka conserving indigenous seeds has grown from 10 to over 1,500.

Bunaken National Park Management Advisory Board (BNPMAB) and Bunaken Concerned Citizen's Forum (FMPTNB)- Indonesia
The Bunaken National Park Management Advisory Board (BNPMAB) is responsible for co-management and conservation of a globally significant marine protected area in North Sulawesi. Through its innovative approach to decision-making, zoning, enforcement and fee-collection, the Board has maintained the Park's rich biodiversity while responding to the needs of the 30,000 people who live in the Park. A key feature of the Board's success is the participation of the Bunaken Concerned Citizen's Forum (FMPTNB) which holds 5 of the 15 Board seats. The Forum's active and prominent involvement on the Board has helped ensure that the villagers' wide experience and knowledge inform all aspects of park management. Critically, 30% of all entrance fee proceeds go to local communities through a highly successful small grants programme.

Rufiji Environment Management Project (REMP-MUMARU) - Tanzania
Since 1998, this project has made headway in its goal of promoting long term conservation through wise use of the lower Rufiji forests, woodlands and wetlands. Several of the villages with which the group works are adjacent to the Selous Game Reserve – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. REMP seeks to ensure biodiversity is conserved, critical ecological functions are maintained, renewable resources are used sustainably and the livelihoods of the area’s inhabitants are secure and enhanced. Working closely with district authorities, communities and other stakeholders, REMP has taken important steps in developing an environmental management plan at district and village levels. This activity supports and furthers efforts to raise awareness and train communities in sustainable fisheries and beekeeping and in tree propagation and planting. Encouraged by the cooperation of government authorities and the enthusiasm of local communities, REMP is actively working towards a more sustainable future for Rufiji.

Torra Conservancy – Namibia
Torra Conservancy covers 352,000 hectares of land in the Kunene region of northwest Namibia. This successful community-based conservancy was formed following passage of Namibia's unique conservancy legislation in 1996. Since then, Torra has established sustainable hunting and ecotourism activities that have earned significant profits for the entire community. Together with the private sector, they have also founded Damaraland Camp, a luxury tented lodge that has received accolades as an outstanding ecotourism destination. Damaraland Camp is fully managed and staffed by conservancy residents and has injected 1.6 million Namibian dollars into the community economy. As members of the Management Committee, community members monitor wildlife and human activity and ensure that policies for land and wildlife management are locally informed and, ultimately, successful.

Sociedade Civil Mamirauá - Brazil
Among other successes, this innovative NGO has pioneered the creation of Sustainable Development Reserves (SDRs) in Brazil. Through application of this novel approach to the management of protected areas, Sociedade Civil Mamirauá has achieved tangible outcomes in the areas of biodiversity conservation and poverty alleviation. In order to protect local biodiversity, the group serves as manager of two SDRs located within the Central Amazon Conservation Complex - a richly biodiverse UNESCO World Heritage Site. Since 1992 they have worked in this capacity with communities, scientists, and state governments to ensure a sustainable future for both local livelihoods and the living resources of the Amazon rainforest upon which communities so vitally depend.