22 September 2014

Wild paddy in the wetlandsOn the evening of September 22, 2014, the Equator Prize 2014 will recognize 26 outstanding local and indigenous community initiatives, including 11 GEF Small Grants Programme partners at an award ceremony at the Lincoln Center. The winners, who were selected from 1,234 nominations in 121 countries, represent exceptional local achievement in advancing sustainable development solutions for nature and resilient communities.

"The knowledge, innovation, and hard work of local communities and indigenous peoples are indispensable to protect both the local and global environment and a large share of the world's most important biodiversity remains in territories that traditionally have been managed by them" said GEF CEO Ms. Naoko Ishii, who will be present in person to recognize the awardees tonight. "The SGP is GEF's flagship program for engaging indigenous peoples and local communities. I am extremely proud that 11 of the 26 Equator Prize winners have been supported by the SGP and we look forward to continue to support this program in the coming years".

Ecuador Waorani smallThe GEF Small Grants Programme has supported the eleven winning organizations with grant funding as well as technical support, including assistance in fundraising, networking/partnering and other capacity building activities. The organizations, which come from different regions, were honored for their work in biodiversity, including forest and tree kangaroo conservation in Papua Guinea; women-led wetland rehabilitation in Jagadishpur, a Ramsar site in Nepal; responsible fishing practices in Turkey's and Morocco's marine areas; organic cocoa and indigenous handicraft production in the Yasuní Biosphere Reserve in Ecuador; climate resilient, sustainable agriculture in Jamaica; Mayan women-led forest conservation and indigenous land rights efforts in Mexico; sustainable farming practices (including establishment of a seed bank) and utilization of renewable energy in the Palestinian Authority; energy-efficient fish smoking kilns and forest conservation in Cameroon; reversing land degradation and deforestation along the Kpaya River in the Central African Republic; and moving farmers from chemical-intensive tobacco cultivation to organic farming practices through organic certification in Zimbabwe.

The event, which contributes to the UN Secretary-General's Climate Summit and the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, will also be attended by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, UNDP Administrator Helen Clark, former Vice President Al Gore, as well as a number of artists, business and governmental officials to recognize the organizations' effort in charting a new path towards sustainable development in their communities.