Equator Prize 2017 Winners Announced
UN Photo/Mark Garten
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The UN Development Programme (UNDP) announced the winners of the Equator Prize 2017, which showcase innovative solutions for tackling poverty, environment and climate challenges from around the world.

UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner expressed hope that others will be “inspired by their example”.

29 June 2017: The UN Development Programme (UNDP) announced the winners of the Equator Prize 2017, which showcase innovative solutions for tackling poverty, environment and climate challenges from 15 local and indigenous communities from Africa, Asia and Latin America. UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner said the winners exemplify what is possible when communities collaborate to protect and sustainably manage nature.

Among the winners are: an initiative promoting conflict resolution in Mali to protect endangered African elephants; a family homestay network in Indonesia providing ecotourism services through a community-run web platform; and an insurance scheme in Pakistan that protects snow leopards, while paying farmers damages for livestock losses. The winners are also, inter alia: utilizing sustainable alfalfa production to restore soil fertility, conserve water and improve agricultural yields in a drought-prone region of Kazakstan; pioneering carbon credit payments for mangrove restoration in Kenya; and securing forest management rights in a Thai community. Additional 2017 winners include: a women’s conservation group in Belize; indigenous communities in Brazil; a conservation organization in Ecuador; a Mayan women’s agroforestry group in Guatemala; an access and benefit sharing project in Honduras; and a women’s empowerment group in India.

Steiner said the solutions the awardees have found are “as diverse as the development challenges they face.” He stressed that what unites them is that “each shows the power of people to bring about change while protecting the planet.”

UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner said the Equator Prize Winners show “the power of people to bring about change while protecting the planet.”

A Technical Advisory Committee selected the winners from 806 nominations representing 120 countries. Entries must focus on community-based approaches that can be replicated at local, national and international scales, with the broader aim of helping to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 15 (life on land) and SDG 5 (gender equality). Winners are chosen based on: impact; innovation; scalability and/or replicability; resilience, adaptability and self-sufficiency; social inclusion; and gender equality.

The winners will be honored at a ceremony in New York, US, on 17 September 2017. Each awardee will receive US$10,000 and the opportunity for a community representative to join a summit in New York during the 72nd UN General Assembly (UNGA). The Equator Prize 2017 marks the 15th anniversary of UNDP’s Equator Initiative, a partnership that advances local, nature-based sustainable development solutions. The Prize is awarded biennially to recognize community efforts to reduce poverty through conserving and sustainably using biodiversity. [UNDP Press Release] [Equator Initiative – Meet the Winners Website] [UNDP’s Digital Good Platform]

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