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Equator Prize Ceremony Held at MDG Summit

20 September 2010: The UN Development Programme (UNDP) and various partners honored 25 local and indigenous community groups from developing countries with the Equator Prize during a gala event at the American Museum of Natural History, New York, US, on the margins of the Summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The winners were recognized for their work in biodiversity conservation, poverty reduction and adaptation to climate change. A policy forum on the critical linkages between biodiversity loss, healthy ecosystems, climate change and achieving the MDGs opened the event. Delivering the keynote speech, UNDP Administrator Helen Clark emphasized that poverty reduction strategies and efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change cannot succeed without being rooted in the demands, capabilities, and actions and engagement of local communities. UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Achim Steiner noted that the Equator Initiative award winners provide creative ideas from reducing poverty and combating climate change to reversing the rate of loss of the planet's nature-based assets, which have been locally tested. World Resources Institute (WRI) President Jonathan Lash noted that communities worldwide are facing the triple-threat of endemic poverty, increasing climate change, and degrading ecosystems. Among the recognized community initiatives is the Association ADIDY Maitso, from Madagascar, which carries out reforestation and restoration activities to promote the diversification of local livelihoods and raise awareness of the economic value of biodiversity conservation. Another winner is the Fundacion San Crisanto A.C, from Mexico, which focuses on the hydrological restoration of mangroves and the de-silting of cenotes with the objective of preventing flooding in communities that regularly suffer economic and environmental losses as a result of heavy rains.

Other Equator Prize winners include: the Réseau de Développement de Réserves Naturelles Communautaires (REDERC ONG) – Benin; Riba Agroforestry Resource Center (RARC) – Cameroon; Associação Comunitária Nova Experiência Marítima da Cruzinha da Garça - ACNEMC - Cape Verde; Mara River Water User's Association – Kenya; Muliru Farmers Conservation Group (MFCG) – Kenya; Smallholders Foundation – Nigeria; La Fédération Locale des GIE de Niodior (FELOGIE) – Senegal; Makuleke Community: Pafuri Camp - South Africa; Kibale Association for Rural and Environmental Development (KAFRED) – Uganda; Monks Community Forestry – Cambodia; Samudram Women's Federation, Orissa – India; KOMUNTO (Komunitas Nelayan Tomia – Tomia Fishermen Community) – Indonesia; Yayasan Mitra Tani Mandiri – Indonesia; Farmers' Association for Rural Upliftment (FARU) – Philippines; Trowel Development Foundation, Inc. – Philippines; Bambou Village de Phu An - Viet Nam; Rosh Protected Area Community – Yemen; Consejo Regional Tsimané Mosetene – Pilon Lajas (CRTM PL) – Bolivia; Associação dos Pequenos Agrossilvicultores do Projeto Reca – Brazil; Carnaúba Viva – Brazil; Complejo Ecoturistico Kapawi S.A. – Ecuador; Red Indígena de Turismo de México, A. C. – Mexico; and the Fundacion para la Agricultura Tropical Alternativa y el Desarrollo Integral (FUNDATADI) – Venezuela.

The Award Ceremony was attended by: nine Heads of State and dozens of ministers; Ted Turner, Chair of the UN Foundation; Andrew Revkin, New York Times Dot Earth reporter; Edward Norton, actor and UN Goodwill Ambassador; Anggun, singer/songwriter and UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Goodwill Ambassador and MDG Champion; Paul Tergat, marathoner and World Food Programme (WFP) Goodwill Ambassador; Catarina Furtado, television host/documentarian and UN Population Fund (UNFPA) Goodwill Ambassador; Prince Albert II of Monaco; and Gisele Bündchen, supermodel and UNEP Goodwill Ambassador. [UNDP Press Release] [Equator Initiative Website]