UNCCD Holds Land For Life Awards Ceremony in Doha

3 December 2012:  The UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) has granted the first Land For Life Award to civil society organizations from Haiti, Turkey and Uganda for their innovative work combating land degradation. UNCCD recognized the three winners at a Recognition Gala event, which included ministers from their respective countries, at the UN Climate Change Conference in Doha, Qatar.

Sustainable Organic Integrated Lifelihoods (SOIL), from Haiti, won the first prize of US$40,000 and a medal for its work to restore land by increasing carbon capture and strengthen the resilience of the region. According to SOIL's website, the organization works to turn waste into resources by building ecological sanitation services.

Two organizations tied for the runner-up prize, each receiving US$30,000 and a medal: Conservation Efforts for Community Development (CECOD), from Uganda; and the Turkish Foundation for Combating Soil Erosion (TEMA). CECOD teaches land management skills to 38,000 students in rural Uganda. TEMA works with 450,000 volunteers in Turkey on reforestation and protection of natural habitats in a country with developing environmental legislation.

According to UNCCD, the prize is awarded based on four primary selection criteria, namely innovation, inspiration, impact and replicability. Qualifying organizations may work in the realms of: technical implementation; policy measures and leadership; business practices; advocacy, education and empowerment; or scientific finding and knowledge sharing.

At the Recognition Gala, co-hosted by Qatar National Food Security Programme, the three winning organizations were represented by Leah Nevada, SOIL's Development Director, Robert Isingoma, Country Director of CECOD, and Serdar Sarigül, Managing Director of TEMA. [UNCCD Press Release] [UNCCD Information on Land For Life Award]