Equator Prize 2019 winners announced for local innovative climate solutions

June 4, 2019

New York, June 5 – The UN Development Programme (UNDP) and partners announced today the winners of the 10th Equator Prize, recognizing 22 local and indigenous communities from across the world. The winning organizations, which showcase innovative, nature-based solutions for tackling climate change, environment, and poverty challenges, will be honored at a celebratory gala on 24 September in New York.

This is the first time the Equator Prize has been awarded to groups from Guinea-Bissau, as well as to indigenous communities in Australia and the United States. Winners are also based in Benin, Brazil, Cameroon, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Micronesia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Tanzania and Vanuatu.

UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner stated, “Every day, thousands of local communities and indigenous peoples around the world are quietly implementing innovative nature-based solutions to mitigate and adapt to climate change.  The Equator Prize is both a recognition of their exceptional ideas and a way to showcase the power of people and grassroots communities to bring about real change.”

The winners were selected from a pool of 847 nominations across 127 countries by an independent Technical Advisory Committee of internationally renowned experts. The four-stage selection process emphasized community-based approaches that provide a blueprint for replication and scaling solutions to address our climate crisis.

Equator Prize winners will each receive US$10,000 and the opportunity for two community representatives to join a week-long summit in New York during the 74th United Nations General Assembly. They will be celebrated at the Equator Prize Award Ceremony on 24 September 2019, at the Town Hall theatre in Midtown Manhattan, featuring celebrities, government and UN officials, civil society, and the media. The winners will join a network of 223 communities from 78 countries that have received the Equator Prize since its inception in 2002.

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 rights leader Vicky Tauli-Corpuz, philanthropists Richard Branson and Ted Turner, and celebrities Edward Norton, Alec Baldwin, Gisele Bündchen, and many more. Partners of the Equator Initiative include the governments of Germany, Norway, and Sweden, as well as Conservation International, the Convention on Biological Diversity, EcoAgriculture Partners, Fordham University, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, The Nature Conservancy, PCI Media Impact, Rainforest Foundation Norway, Rare, UN Environment, UNDP, UN Foundation, USAID, WWF, and the Wildlife Conservation Society.

For more information, please visit www.equatorinitiative.org or join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter by using #EquatorPrize.

Media enquiries: Sangita Khadka, Communications Specialist, UNDP New York, email: sangita.khadka@undp.org,  +1-212-906-5043

More Information on Equator Prize 2019 Winners

Dutjahn Sandalwood Oils Pty Ltd, Australia

In an innovative partnership with the Kutkabubba aboriginal community, Dutjahn Sandalwood Oils Pty Ltd promotes cultural identity in Western Australia and supports local livelihoods through the sustainable harvest of sandalwood oil for the global luxury perfume market.

Centre Régional de Recherche et d’Education pour un Développement Intégré (CREDI-ONG), Benin

Putting youth at the center of efforts to mitigate climate change and promote community resilience, CREDI-ONG has created an agroecological farm and 67,000-hectare Community Natural Park to enable 150,000 people to live in harmony with nature in South Benin, while providing considerable climate mitigation benefits.

Associação Indígena Kisêdjê, Brazil

Located in one of Brazil’s most deforested states, this association of Kisêdjê indigenous people has transformed the status quo by reclaiming their traditional lands and developing an innovative entrepreneurial model that uses the native pequi tree to restore landscapes, foster food security, and develop products for the local and national markets.

Conselho Indigena de Roraima, Brazil

In the Roraima state of Brazil, this indigenous alliance has secured rights to 1.7 million hectares of traditional land for 55,000 indigenous peoples while promoting ecological and social resilience through the conservation of traditional crop varieties.

Cameroon Gender and Environmental Watch, Cameroon

In the Kilum-Ijim Forest of Cameroon, this organization has planted over 75,000 bee-loving African cherry trees, 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.

Fondo de Páramos Tungurahua y Lucha Contra La Pobreza, Ecuador

In the mountains of Ecuador, this public-private-community partnership uses innovative financial mechanisms to conserve the paramo ecosystem, ensure water security, store carbon, and enhance quality of life for indigenous communities.

Conselho de gestão da área marinha protegida comunitária Urok, Guinea Bissau

In the Bijagós Archipelago off the western coast of Guinea-Bissau, this management council uses traditional knowledge to protect 54,500 hectares of critical marine and mangrove ecosystems in order to mitigate climate change, reduce coastal erosion, and ensure sustainable livelihoods for the Bijagós indigenous people.

Deccan Development Society, India

In the Zaheerabad region of India, Deccan Development Society promotes women-led regenerative agriculture and community-seed banks to empower Dalit and tribal women, promote sustainable land use, and achieve food security.

Indigenous Group of Dayak Iban Sungai Utik Long House, Indonesia

From their 214-metre long house in West Kalimantan, the Dayak Iban have protected an estimated 1.31 million tons of carbon. For decades they have protected their 9,504-hectare customary forest against corporate interests, following the dictate that healthy nature is more important than monetary wealth.

Solar Freeze, Kenya

In rural Kenya, this initiative is pioneering the production of portable solar cold rooms that reduce post-harvest losses by 90 percent, increase household incomes, and reduce greenhouse gases from food loss.

Tamil Resources Conservation Trust, Micronesia

As climate change impacts the communities and ecosystems of the Pacific, this organization fosters ridge-to-reef climate resilience through watershed-wide restoration, family farming, a community nursery, and systematic marine conservation planning.

Environmental Management and Development Trust, Nigeria

Environmental Management and Development Trust supports a dynamic network of women promoting cacao agroforestry and the production of the so-called miracle fruit as a plastic alternative for local markets in southwestern Nigeria.

Kasa Ghar Cluster Community Based Organization, Pakistan

By creating a successful value-added market model for Chilghoza pine nuts, this group has conserved 26,000 hectares of vulnerable forest in the Sulaiman Range of Pakistan and sustained the well-being of approximately 12,000 people from 100 villages.

Comunidades Nativas de Nuevo Saposoa y Patria Nueva de Mediación Callería, Peru

Harnessing innovative satellite and mobile phone technology for community-led monitoring, this association of two indigenous Shipibo Peruvian communities has secured rights to 15,000 ha of ancestral lands and completely eliminated illegal deforestation.

Ejecutor de Contrato de Administración de la Reserva Comunal Amarakaeri (ECA-RCA), Peru – recipient of a joint award with the Ejecutor de Contrato de Administración Tuntanain

Guardians of the largest Communal Reserve in Peru, this group demonstrates the power of indigenous-government co-management for climate change mitigation by successfully protecting over 402,335 hectares of forest while providing alternative livelihoods to local communities.

Ejecutor de Contrato de Administración Tuntanain, Peru – recipient of a joint award with Ejecutor de Contrato de Administración de la Reserva Comunal Amarakaeri

Ejecutor de Contrato de Administración Tuntanain brings together 23 indigenous groups and the Peruvian government to co-manage 94,967 hectares of forest in an impressive partnership that has increased local income 160 percent, protected the headwaters of three rivers essential for regional water security, reduced food insecurity, and fostered climate resilience.

Kemito Ene, Peru

A model for sustainable commodity supply chains worldwide, this indigenous social business enterprise has enabled 300 Asháninka families to break into the international market and directly export 90 tons of sustainably produced, organic cacao annually while conserving their forests.

The Yaeda Valley Project, Tanzania

In the Yaeda Valley of Tanzania, the Hadzabe, a 10,000-year-old hunter-gatherer tribe has safeguarded over 20,000 hectares of territory through a historic land tenure campaign coupled with an innovative carbon offset scheme, community monitoring, and inclusive governance.

Hui Makaʻāinana o Makana, USA – recipient of a joint award with Hui Mālama o Moʻomomi

This native Hawaiian grassroots initiative has woven together traditional, place-based knowledge and policy advocacy to sustainably manage their nearshore fisheries, resulting in the official designation of the first community co-managed fishery in the state of Hawai’i.

Hui Mālama o Moʻomomi, USA – recipient of a joint award with Hui Makaʻāinana o Makana

Hui Mālama o Moʻomomi, a native Hawaiian grassroots initiative on the island of Molokai, uses traditional ecological management practices such as the art of kilo and pono fishing to sustainably manage their nearshore fisheries in the face of climate change for generations to come.

Yurok Tribe, USA

Forming an unprecedented alliance with the government of California to auction carbon credits from their sustainably managed forests through the state’s cap-and-trade program, the Yurok Tribe has secured new finance to purchase over 22,200 hectares of their ancestral lands.

Ser-Thiac, Vanuatu

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