Equator Prize Winners

15 years advancing solutions for local sustainable development.

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255 Winners found
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In a remote part of the Congo Basin, Vie Sauvage has pioneered a holistic model for community development, conservation, and peace-building, helping create and manage a 4,875 square kilometer reserve for the bonobo (a great ape), and other endangered species. Deeply-rooted indigenous traditions see the bonobo as close relative to humans and forbid its hunting or eating. Local economic, social and health needs drive the planning of conservation activities, and support community ownership and mobilization. The initiative has created jobs in the management of the reserve and ecotourism. Basic health care, education programs, and agricultural cooperatives as well as a micro-enterprise program pr…

Among the first indigenous owned and managed conservancies in East Africa, Nashulai Maasai Conservancy is at the forefront of a paradigm shift towards a mixed-use conservation model.

This 2,400 hectare protected area forms an important ecological corridor in the Maasai Mara and has attracted elephants, zebras, giraffes, lions and numerous other species. Combining indigenous ecological knowledge with cutting-edge science, local Maasai communities are also engaged in economic development and cultural programming, so humans, livestock, and wildlife all prosper in harmony.

An elephant nursery and a bird sanctuary support the restoration of wildlife diversity and density. Tradit…

In an area of South-Eastern Myanmar marked by 70 years of conflict, the Salween Peace Park is the result of a Karen indigenous grassroots movement for stability and conservation of a 5,400 square kilometer continuous ecosystem made up of protected areas, community forests and indigenous lands. Based on an indigenous vision of sustainable use of natural resources, coupled with traditional practices and taboos, local communities lead a life that respects wildlife and local ecosystems. A camera-trap program led by female researchers has shown remarkable species diversity in the area, contributing to the conservation of the Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspot. Organic agriculture has allowed village…

Utz Che’ is a network of over 40 indigenous and local communities and farmer associations representing about 200,000 people in the entire country, 90% of them indigenous. Supporting its members in the sustainable management of their resources, mainly highland cloud forests and watersheds, the organization guides advocacy efforts of marginalized communities confronting encroachments on their territories. Incorporating Mayan traditional and cultural knowledge, training and farmer-to-farmer learning exchanges promote the conservation of local agrobiodiversity, use of heirloom species, and sharing of best practices in forestry and agroforestry. The livelihoods of 33,000 families have been improv…

Alianza Ceibo unites four indigenous peoples in their struggle to counter environmental degradation to protect over 20,000 square kilometers of primary rainforest across four provinces and 70 communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon. In one of the world’s most biodiverse ecosystems, this indigenous-led alliance provides alternatives to extractive industries, ranching, and large-scale monocultures. Alianza Ceibo’s activities provide clean water to over 6,000 people, connect remote communities to solar power, and support women entrepreneurs. The alliance’s advocacy and ongoing legal accompaniment have led to the revocation of mine and oil concessions in indigenous territories. Participatory commun…

In 2004, facing the deterioration of the 90-hectare Andranobe Lake which provided the base of their local fishing and agriculture livelihoods, four communities in central Madagascar came together to form the community-based organization Tatamo Miray an’Andranobe (TAMIA). Based on customary social contracts, TAMIA has served as a platform to restore the lake’s water level and quality, remove invasive aquatic species, and repopulate fish stocks. Planting trees on the adjacent hillsides, the communities reduced silting of the lake by 50%. Fish catches increased from 8 tonnes in 2004 to 20 tonnes in 2019. 420 hectares of farms are under irrigation with lake water even in the dry season. The lake…

Bringing together 11 indigenous groups, Forum Musyawarah Masyarakat Adat Taman Nasional Kayan Mentarang (FoMMA) advocates for the rights of communities who live on 20,000 square kilometers of customary land in Northern Kalimantan. A large portion of their ancestral lands, mainly made up of forests and rivers, overlaps with Kayan Mentarang National Park. The park was the first in Indonesia to be placed under a collaborative management arrangement. Government and indigenous authorities, represented by FoMMA, decide jointly on resource management as well as traditional access and use rights, promoting local stewardship over the park. FoMMA has supported communities to document and map over 20,0…

The Boon Rueang Wetland Forest Conservation Group formed in response to threats against the largest wetland forest in the Ing River Basin in Northern Thailand. The community has maintained stewardship over the 483 hectare forest through coordinated advocacy and dialogue with stakeholders, while pursuing a successful community forestry model under a landscape conservation paradigm. Education, mobilization, fundraising, and extensive research on the rich biodiversity and significant economic value of the wetland forest all have ensured the protection of an ecosystem critical to providing natural water reserves for agriculture and consumption, habitats for wildlife, acting as carbon storage and…

In the state of Querétaro, this women-founded and women-led association has been working with an environmentally-minded Spanish company, the Mexican Government, and a local university to develop and market cosmetics based on the ‘toronjil’, or lemon balm plant. The agreement signed between the parties is considered one of the first cases of full compliance with the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing. The association supports women entrepreneurs to grow their agricultural micro-businesses, and engages in biodiversity conservation, restoration, stabilization of soils, and nursery cultivation. The activities have empowered the women to create jobs and improve livelihoods in their com…

After 40 years of advocacy, the Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation achieved the vision of protecting their land and waters for future generations in 2019 by signing agreements with national and territorial governments to officially create Thaidene Nëné, a 26,000 square kilometer protected area between the Canadian boreal forest and the arctic tundra. This intact landscape features some of the cleanest freshwater in the world and provides habitat for grizzly bears, wolves, moose, wolverine and some of the last herds of barren-ground caribou. It is also a globally significant carbon sink. This indigenous-led conservation model is made possible through the use of an innovative conservation finance me…

In the South Peruvian Madre de Dios Department, ten indigenous communities came together with government authorities to form Ejecutor de Contrato de Administración de la Reserva Comunal Amarakaeri (ECA-RCA, Executor of the Administrative Contract of the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve) to protect their ancestral rainforest.…

Comunidades Nativas de Nuevo Saposoa y Patria Nueva de Mediación Callería brings together two indigenous Shipibo communities in the Peruvian province of Ucayali to monitor and protect 15,000 hectares of ancestral territories.…

In a remote area of the Hawaiian island of Molokai, Hui Mālama o Moʻomomi brings together native Hawaiian communities to sustainably manage their marine waters and fisheries in the face of climate change. Drawing on traditional ecological knowledge and values passed down for generations, the group manages its nearshore fisheries using the art of kilo, which monitors moon cycles and their effects on marine species and ecosystems.…

Conselho Indígena de Roraima brings together nearly 55,000 indigenous people from the Macuxi, Wapichana, Taurepang, Ingarikó, Wai-Wai, Yanomami, Ye'kuana, Patamona, and Sapará groups. In 2010, the group achieved the demarcation of the 1.7 million-hectare territory of Raposa Serra do Sol.…

Throughout a 40-year campaign to obtain legal recognition of land rights to their 9,504-hectare customary forest, the Indigenous Group of Dayak Iban Sungai Utik Long House have consistently defended their lands against illegal logging, palm oil production, and corporate interests, protecting an estimated 1.31 million tons of carbon.…

Solar Freeze is pioneering the production of cold storage units powered by solar energy for small-scale rural produce farmers. By providing mobile solar-powered cold rooms, this innovative entrepreneurial initiative enables farmers to reduce post-harvest losses by 90 percent and to grow more high-value crops, thus increasing household incomes and reducing greenhouse gas emissions through food loss.…

On the north shore of the island of Kaua’i, Hui Makaʻāinana o Makana takes a place-centered approach that weaves together the identity and culture of native Hawaiian communities to sustainably manage their nearshore fisheries.…

Marine resources in Micronesia are threatened with habitat destruction compounded by climate change, with severe effects on local communities. In response, the Tamil Council of Chiefs in the state of Yap established the Tamil Resources Conservation Trust (TRCT) to promote ridge-to-reef conservation for community and ecosystem resilience.…

Deccan Development Society works in the Zaheerabad region of India with Dalit (‘untouchables’) and tribal women to develop climate-smart agricultural practices that secure community nutrition, health, and livelihoods. Over the past 25 years, the organization has supported over 2,700 women to reclaim their farmlands and, in its first ten years alone, generated over one million days of employment for women across 30 villages.…

Cameron Gender and Environment Watch (CAMGEW) brings together women’s empowerment, community livelihoods, and ecology to address environmental challenges in northwestern Cameroon. Recognizing that local livelihoods are deeply integrated with the health of local ecosystems.…