• UN launches ‘Equator Prize 2015’

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    Tajikistan’s Water Users Association (Water is Hope) was one of the Equator Prize awardees in 2014 PHOTO FROM WWW.TJ.UNDP.ORG

    Tajikistan’s Water Users Association (Water is Hope) was one of the Equator Prize awardees in 2014 PHOTO FROM WWW.TJ.UNDP.ORG

    THE United Nations has launched a call for nominations for the Equator Prize 2015, marking the beginning of a worldwide outreach effort designed to identify exceptional local efforts to reduce poverty, protect biodiversity, and address climate change.

    The Equator Prize 2015 will recognize 20 outstanding local climate solutions from across the developing world. Nominations are open for indigenous and community groups from 145 countries until May 27.

    Areas of focus for this cycle of the prestigious award include recognizing indigenous peoples and local communities that are protecting, restoring and sustainably managing forests; promoting sustainable agriculture and food security; advancing community-based adaptation to climate change; securing rights to communal lands, territories and natural resources; and forging innovative partnerships for sustainable development.

    The Equator Prize 2015 is part of a partnership campaign to prioritize the participation of indigenous peoples and local communities at the upcoming UN Conference on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP21), which will take place in Paris, France in December.

    “The world will be watching as governments meet this year to reach a new climate change agreement,” said Helen Clark, Administrator of the UN Development Program. “Through the Equator Prize, we are sending a clear message—land and resource rights, indigenous peoples’ empowerment, and innovative partnerships among communities, governments and businesses must be pillars of any new climate framework.”

    Each of the 20 recipients of the Equator Prize 2015—as selected by a committee of development experts and a jury of eminent persons – will receive US$10,000 and be supported to participate in a series of policy dialogues and special events at the UNFCCC COP21 in Paris.

    Past recipients of the Equator Prize have come from more than 70 different countries and included community protected areas, agriculture and farming cooperatives, wildlife protection initiatives, local water committees, community-managed forests, locally managed marine areas and seed banks.

    The Equator Prize has been supported by former Heads of State Gro Harlem Brundtland and Oscar Arias, Nobel Prize winners Al Gore and Elinor Ostrom, thought leaders Jane Goodall and Jeffrey Sachs, indigenous peoples leaders like Vicky Tauli-Corpuz, philanthropists Richard Branson and Ted Turner, and celebrities like Edward Norton, Gisele Bündchen, Connie Britton, Alec Baldwin, and many more.

    The Equator Initiative is a partnership that brings together the UN, governments, civil society, businesses, and grassroots organizations to advance local sustainable development solutions for people, nature and resilient communities.

    Partners of the initiative include: Governments of Norway, Germany, Sweden, and the U.S.A.; Conservation International; Convention on Biological Diversity; Ecoagriculture Partners; Fordham University; IUCN-International Union for Conservation of Nature; The Nature Conservancy; PCI-Media Impact; Rare; UN Environment Programme; UN Development Programme (UNDP); and UN Foundation.

    For more information on the Equator Prize, visit www.equatorinitiative.org.

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