The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) recently announced the winners of the Equator Prize 2017, recognising innovative solutions for tackling poverty, climate and environment challenges from 15 local and indigenous communities across Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The winning organisations will be honoured at a celebratory gala in New York in September 2017.
The 15 Equator Prize 2017 winners were selected from a pool of 806 nominations across 120 countries for protecting, restoring and sustainably managing nature to achieve local sustainable development. Areas of recognition include food security, water security, sustainable jobs livelihoods and disaster risk reduction, as well as the cross-cutting issue areas of land and water rights, social and environmental justice, and gender equality. In the process of addressing these issue areas, the winning organisations have created several thousand jobs and livelihoods, improved food and water security for hundreds of communities, protected endangered wildlife and improved community resilience against natural disasters.
“By shining a spotlight on these initiatives from all corners of the world, we hope that others will be inspired by their example. Their dedication and commitment show what is possible when communities come together to protect and sustainably manage nature for the benefit of all,” said Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator.
This is the first time the Equator Prize has been awarded to groups from Kazakhstan and Pakistan. Winners are also based in Belize, Brazil, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mali, and Thailand. Among the winners are: Mikoko Pamoja, a pioneering carbon credit payment scheme for mangrove restoration in Kenya; ‘Zhasil Azik’ a public foundation restoring the productivity of low-fertility lands in Kazakhstan by sustainably cultivating alfalfa; and Baltistan Wildlife Conservation and Development Organization an insurance scheme in Pakistan that protects snow leopards while paying farmers damages for livestock losses.
UNDP’s Equator Initiative brings these communities and organisations to a national and global stage, connecting them with governments, thought leaders and other communities around the world, so that new nature-based solutions can be accelerated and replicated to achieve progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The 2017 Equator Prize winners will join a prestigious network of 208 community-based organisations from 70 countries that have been awarded the Equator Prize since 2002.