Equator Prize Winners Announced

equatorinitiative9 June 2014: The UN-led Equator Initiative has announced the recipients of its Equator Prize, which recognizes “local sustainable development solutions for people, nature and resilient communities.” Winners from around the world are using community-based, grassroots action to tackle climate change, environment and poverty.

Winners include: Alliance for Integrated Development in Nepal, a women-led wetlands user group that uses agro-forestry, organic farming and wildlife management to manage a manmade reservoir; Northern Rangelands Trust in Kenya, which works on land management, sustainable livestock practices and wildlife conservation; and Water is Hope in Tajikistan, which uses community-elected water custodians to ensure equitable water distribution.

Other winners are: an indigenous community association in Colombia that has established their collective territory as a national park to address threats from mining interests; a farmer initiative on food security, organic farming and reforestation in Haiti; and a local council of chiefs in Papua New Guinea that is organizing the first climate change refugee relocation by voluntarily relocating its people from the Carteret Islands, which are being submerged as a result of sea level rise.

UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator, Helen Clark, described the Equator Prize winners as “leading local examples of innovation and achievement that can change the world for the better.” Clark emphasized “they are not waiting for others to act” but are “showing what is possible when grassroots ingenuity meets the defining challenges of our time – ending poverty, protecting our planet, and responding to climate change.”

The Equator Initiative will recognize 12 winners for their efforts on sustainable land management at a ceremony in Nairobi, Kenya, on World Day to Combat Desertification, which takes place on 17 June 2014. The Equator Initiative will present 25 awards at a ceremony on 22 September 2014, as a kick off to the UN Secretary-General's Climate Summit, in New York, US. All winners receive a monetary prize.

The Equator Initiative received a record 1,234 nominations from 121 different countries. The winners include: six organizations from Asia and the Pacific; two from Eastern Europe and Central Asia; seven from Latin America and the Caribbean; three from the Middle East and North Africa; and 17 from Sub-Saharan Africa. [UNDP Press Release] [Equator Initiative Website] [Equator Prize Winners]