Equator Prize highlights nature-based solutions ahead of key climate, biodiversity conferences

UNDP, 4 October 2021

The 12th Equator Prize Award Ceremony honored 10 Indigenous and local communities from across the world in a virtual gala event, delivering a powerful message of local leadership at the “Nature for Life Hub”, ahead of key climate and biodiversity conferences taking place later this year.

The event, hosted by the UNDP Equator Initiative partnership, recognized and celebrated extraordinary responses to our planetary crisis created by 10 Indigenous peoples and local communities from 9 countries. The winners were awarded a cash prize of US$10,000 each for their significant work that showcases innovative, nature-based solutions for biodiversity, climate change and development challenges. This is the first time the Equator Prize has been awarded to a group in Kyrgyzstan. Winners are also based in the Bolivia, Brazil, Cameroon, Costa Rica, Ecuador, India (2 winners), Mexico, and Niger.

“Equator Prize winners like these show us what it means to put nature at the very heart of our economy and at the very heart of sustainable development”, said Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator. “Indigenous peoples and local communities are stewards of nearly one-third of the Earth’s lands. The services these lands provide – such as freshwater, livelihoods and carbon storage – are fundamental to all humanity; to the achievement of the Global Goals; and to the biodiversity and climate agendas.”

The award ceremony featured winners in the categories of sustainable food systems, climate resilience for people and planet, and a new nature economy. Each winning community delivered a statement to the audience, emphasizing the central role of Indigenous peoples and local communities in protecting, sustainably managing and restoring the world’s ecosystems.

In addressing the public, climate activist Paloma Costa said, “The Equator Prize winners stand exemplary for a movement of youth, elders, women, men, communities all over the world to take on the climate crisis. They show that humanity is ready for a sustainable future.”

Among the distinguished speakers and musicians were Dia Mirza, Actor, Producer, UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador & UN Secretary General Advocate for Sustainable Development Goals; Grammy Award-winning rock band Portugal. The Man (“Feel It Still”); Indigenous artists and journalists Djuena Tikuna and DJ Eric Marky Terena, Edgar Villanueva, Principal, Decolonizing Wealth Project & Liberated Capital; Bård Vegar Solhjell, Director General, Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation; and representatives from all 10 winning initiatives in articulating their vision for local leadership in sustainable development.

Among the distinguished personalities who presented the awards were Christiana Figueres, Founding Partner, Global Optimism and former Executive Secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (Costa Rica); DJ Alok, DJ and Musical Producer (Brazil); Cholponbek Abikeyev, State Secretary of Kyrgyzstan; Dr. Makoto Kitanaka, President of the Association Sasakawa Africa (for Niger); Mauricio Kuri González, Governor of Querétaro (Mexico); Rohini Nilekani, Chairperson, Arghyam Trust (India); Alberto Acosta, President of the Constitutional Assembly of Ecuador, 2007-2008; Ciriaco Rodríguez Vásquez, Mayor of Riberalta, and Elmina Martinez Subirana – Councilwoman of the Municipality of Riberalta (Bolivia); and Professor Gita Sen, Public Health Foundation of India (India).

Since its inception in 2002, the Equator Prize has recognized the innovative work of 265 community initiatives from 83 countries that are helping to protect the environment and address our climate crisis while advancing their own sustainable development priorities. This year’s Equator Prize was made possible by the generous support of the Government of Norway.

Original article here.

Scroll to Top
Scroll to Top