19 September 2019
Equator Prize Ceremony to Highlight Local Nature-based Solutions at UN Climate Summit
UNDP Equator Initiative/Deccan Development Society
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The Equator Prize Award Ceremony 2019 will showcase innovative, nature-based solutions for tackling climate change, development, and poverty challenges.

Join the Equator Prize Award Ceremony on 24 September in New York, US.

This year’s Equator Prize Award Ceremony will honor 22 outstanding indigenous and local groups from 16 countries, each showcasing innovative, nature-based solutions for tackling climate change, development, and poverty challenges. The event highlights concrete responses and practical solutions to the climate crisis by indigenous peoples and local communities all over the world, featuring actors Oona Chaplin and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.

In the global rush to tackle climate change to avoid catastrophic consequences by 2030, the solutions devised by the Equator Prize winner communities provide replicable and scalable examples of successful climate change mitigation and adaptation, and the transition to a green economy. The Equator Prize demonstrates that nature-based solutions, such as the protection, sustainable management, and restoration of natural ecosystems, are integral components of the response to climate change. The awardees’ work also shows how community solutions simultaneously deliver on multiple SDGs.

This year’s 22 winners are based in 16 different countries, and demonstrate the wide variety in which nature-based solutions can support sustainable development and climate action.

For example, Cameroon Gender and Environment Watch has planted over 75,000 bee-loving African cherry trees in the Kilum-Ijim Forest of Cameroon, trained 1,700 farmers in beekeeping and agroforestry, and empowered over 1,500 women to lead their own businesses, providing locally-grounded solutions for economic development, climate change mitigation, food security, and biodiversity conservation.

In the mountains of Ecuador, the Fondo de Páramos Tungurahua y Lucha Contra La Pobreza, a public-private-community partnership, uses innovative financial mechanisms to conserve the paramo (high-Andean grassland) ecosystem, ensure water security, store carbon, and enhance quality of life for indigenous communities.

Ser-Thiac, a community-based organization in Vanuatu, is the first indigenous-owned accredited forest carbon project in the Pacific Islands. Ser-Thiac has reduced approximately 15,000 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to date, and offers a powerful new model for carbon credits based on indigenous land rights, stewardship, and climate resilience.

These three Equator Prize 2019 winners show that the protection, restoration, and sustainable management of nature and natural ecosystems can pay multiple development benefits: intact ecosystems provide food and water for growing populations and can provide incomes and sustain livelihoods. They also demonstrate that, if the conditions are right, communities can engage in new economic models to counteract market and policy failures that drive environmental degradation and climate change. The Equator Prize celebrates this ingenuity and innovation by placing the communities on the center stage at the Equator Prize Award Ceremony.

This year, actress Oona Chaplin will serve as Master of Ceremonies, and actor and UNDP Goodwill Ambassador Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (‘Game of Thrones’) will be featured in the programme. UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Achim Steiner and UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Inger Andersen are among the distinguished speakers of the evening. The lineup also includes performances by indigenous artists, and music by Alsarah and the Nubatones.

Hosted by the UNDP and partners, the celebration is a contribution to the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit and the SDG Summit. The high-profile gala will feature award presentations, videos on the winning initiatives, community statements by winner representatives, government statements, as well as musical and cultural performances.

The event will take place on 24 September from 8.00-10.00 pm at the Town Hall, 123 West 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036. Free tickets are available here.

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This article was written by Martin Sommerschuh, Coordinator, Equator Initiative, Global Programme on Nature for Development, UNDP.

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