The Equator Prize 2006 Jury has selected the following five outstanding community initiatives for recognition with the Equator Prize 2006. These communities will receive recognition on 22 May 2007 on International Day for Biological Diversity and international recognition at an Awards Ceremony in Berlin, Germany on World Environment Day. Drawn from a pool of over 310 total nominations and 25 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:
In recognition of an outstanding community-driven biodiversity-based business:
In recognition of an outstanding community initiative associated with a World Heritage Site:
The Village of Andavadoaka, Madagascar
Economic and environmental factors in MadagascarвЂ™s village of Andavadoaka were threatening the local octopus population, putting a major strain on the villageвЂ™s traditional source of livelihood. In response, village leaders teamed up with marine conservationists to stabilize the species. Combining traditional knowledge with modern science, the two parties formulated a plan involving seasonal bans on octopus fishing. As a result of this project, the average octopus size and catch has increased steadily. The project is being used as a model in the development of a marine protected area network that incorporates twelve nearby villages. In addition to managing the marine protected area, the community is working to expand eco-tourism activities in order to offer sustainable alternatives to the traditional Andavadoakan livelihood.
Shompole Community Trust, Kenya
Since 1979, the Shompole Ranch, spanning over 62,000 hectares of KenyaвЂ™s grasslands and savannahs, has preserved and restored the local environment. Re-emerging and thriving wetlands have attracted an increasing number of tourists. Revenue from ecotourism has been invested through the Shompole Community Trust in protecting and restoring the environment, as well as in funding healthcare services, education, water supply, and school fees. The trust, a legally recognized corporation, is owned by the Maasai people and addresses issues of socio-economic development on behalf of the community.
Local Ecotourism Company Received Global Recognition (Kenya Times, 18 August 2007) [PDF]
Kenyan Group Ranch Scoops Top UN Award (The Standard, 18 August 2007) [PDF]
Shompole Wins UNDP Equator Prize (UNDP Kenya, 18 September 2007)
Ecotourism in Kenya honoured (Nairoby Star, 19 September 2007) [PDF]
ASIA & THE PACIFIC
Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha, Bangladesh
Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha uses BangladeshвЂ™s extensive river network to spread environmental education. Boats have been outfitted to travel from farm to farm bringing new technologies, information, strategies, and tools. Villagers have learned and implemented ways to avoid problems such as soil erosion, ground and water contamination, over-fishing, and habitat destruction. Access to this information has resulted in higher income which has enabled residents to pay their childrenвЂ™s education expenses, gain access to better healthcare, and improve living conditions. The Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha reaches an estimated 87,000 families each year.
LATIN AMERICA & THE CARIBBEAN
The Maya nut was once a staple food for the ancient Mayans but is threatened with extinction due to the spread of logging and conversion of land to agriculture. In the buffer zone of the Maya Biosphere Reserve, Guatemala, 56 women own and manage a business which employs over 650 community members to process Maya nut to feed their families and earn income. The Maya nut is not only an important source of nutrition for humans but 85% of endemic wildlife also rely on the Maya nut forests for food, shelter, and general habitat. The project has resulted in the conservation of 90,000 hectares of Maya nut forests and the planting of 150,000 new trees across Guatemala. Alimentos Nutri-Naturales has created a local initiative to resolve malnutrition, rural poverty and dependence on imported foodstuffs by marketing Maya-nut-based school lunches to local school districts. Through a partnership with the local government, Maya nut snacks will be distributed in schools as a healthy alternative to cookies at lunch time.
AsociaciГіn de Mujeres de Isabela вЂњPescado AzulвЂќ,
Isabela WomenвЂ™s Association вЂњBlue FishвЂќ, Ecuador
This womenвЂ™s cooperative on the Island of Isabela in the GalГЎpagos Islands is providing jobs for unemployed women and sustainable economic alternatives for fishermen. Traditionally, the fishermen have relied on declining coastal sea cucumber, lobster, and shark populations for their livelihood. The Mujeres de Isabela association provides an alternative by creating a market for tuna, a migratory species, which is processed, smoked and sold to tourists. The project also contributes to the conservation of the Galapagos by using guava wood, a destructive invasive species, to smoke the fish. This small-scale business is decreasing pressure on the already overexploited fishery by focusing on added value rather than scale in its production of smoked fish delicacies.