Ten indigenous peoples and local communities from 9 countries bag 2022 Equator Prize

All ten Equator Prize winners promote gender equality and showcase the importance of placing traditional knowledge and nature-based solutions at the heart of local development.

August 8, 2022
Equator Prize Press Release Photo

Women flagging (marking) the community protected area at Thumbine, Maxixe. Ocean Revolution Mozambique is empowering the local communities surrounding Inhambane Bay to best conserve their marine resources.

Ocean Revolution

NEW YORK – The UN Development Programme (UNDP) and partners announce the winners of the 13th Equator Prize, recognizing ten Indigenous peoples and local communities from nine countries. The winners, selected from a pool of over 500 nominations from 109 countries hail from Brazil, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Gabon, Ghana, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Mozambique and Argentina. The announcement also marks the Equator Initiative’s 20th anniversary, recognizing 264 winners to date.

This year’s winners highlight the theme of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples: “The Role of Indigenous Women in the Preservation and Transmission of Traditional Knowledge.” Four of this year’s Equator Prize winners are women-led initiatives, while all ten promote gender equality in their community, and all showcase the importance of placing traditional knowledge and nature-based solutions at the heart of local development. The winning organizations demonstrate the ways that innovative, nature-based solutions can enable communities to achieve, even in a time of economic, environmental, political and public health shocks.

"For 20 years, Equator Prize winners have shown that local communities are already putting into place the economic and development transformations we need, to achieve a nature-positive future for all. Now more than ever, it is time to emulate their leadership and support their efforts. We are grateful to the ten Equator Prize winners for the inspiration they provide, and we are grateful to the Government of Norway for their generous support to the Equator Initiative,” - stated Francine Pickup, Deputy Director of UNDP's Bureau for Policy and Programme Support.

Among this year’s winners are also an Indigenous women-led group of grassroots organizers protecting jaguars through political and cultural advocacy; a coalition of Indigenous tribes making the field of conservation research more inclusive to local communities; a local environmental justice organization at the forefront of international efforts to conserve and protect vital biodiversity hotspots – mangroves; and a community-managed forestry project that protects local livelihoods while safeguarding the endangered Bonobo.

Equator Prize winners will receive US$10,000, and the opportunity to take part in a series of special virtual events associated with the UN General Assembly, the UNDP Nature for Life Hub, COP 27 in Egypt, and COP 15 in Montreal. They will join a network of 264 communities from over 80 countries that have received the Equator Prize since its inception 20 years ago.

The celebration of the Equator Prize winners will take place in late November during UNDP’s Nature for Life Hub, just before the long-delayed global biodiversity conference.

For more information, please visit the Equator Initiative website and join the conversation by using #EquatorPrize on Twitter or Facebook.


Meet the Equator Prize 2022 winners:

RED TICCA "Territorios de Vida en Argentina" – Argentina

This consortium of Indigenous peoples throughout Argentina is conserving, managing and governing 3.5M ha of “Living Space,” through the largest Indigenous Conservation and Conserved Area (ICCA) network in the country. This network allows them to uphold their right to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) as well as push for their cultural values are integrated in public policies.

Associação Bebô Xikrin do Bacajá – Brazil

Working in the Trincheira Bacajá Indigenous area in Brazil, Associação Bebô Xikrin do Bacajá has developed a sustainable production system of coconut oil. The local action of Xikrin women has turned the community’s ancestral knowledge into an income-generating opportunity that funds the conservation of their lands.

Associação Rede de Sementes do Xingu – Brazil

Associação Rede de Sementes do Xingu has brought together women from 25 Indigenous, agricultural and urban communities to collect and commercialize over 220 different species of seeds for large-scale ecological reforestation of the Amazon and the Cerrado. In doing so they have generated incomes of over $700K and financially empowered Indigenous women throughout the region.

Mbou-Mon-Tour – Democratic Republic of the Congo

This organization has developed a locally, community-led system of ecosystem conservation in the DRC that promotes the coexistence of Indigenous peoples and local communities with local Bonobo populations. They have done this through a legal framework of Local Community Forest Concessions (CFCL) that are specifically designed to protect native biodiversity and respect local customs.

Coordinadora Nacional para la Defensa del Ecosistema Manglar (C-CONDEM) - Ecuador

C-CONDEM promotes participatory and community reforestation of mangrove forests, reclaiming areas deforested by the industrial aquaculture and promoting an alternative, sustainable and inclusive land use. At C-CONDEM, rural women from an Afro-Ecuadorian minority relentlessly combat mangrove deforestation through activism and global restoration campaigns for the ecological rights of coastal communities in Ecuador. Their activism led to the proclamation of International Day of Mangrove Ecosystems.

Organisation Écologique des Lacs et de l’Ogooué (OELO) – Gabon

OELO successfully created a sustainable solution to freshwater resource management in and around Gabon's largest Ramsar site - the Bas Ogooué. Through their work, they created the first community-written sustainable freshwater fisheries management plan that was signed into law in 2018, improving the lives of local fisherfolk and creating numerous alternative economic opportunities in the region.

Sunkpa Shea Women's Cooperative – Ghana

This Indigenous, women-led cooperative is setting an example for sustainable commodity production through their shea butter production cooperative. The group managed integrating their organic production into international supply chains while improving the lives of 800 women.

Ocean Revolution Moçambique – Mozambique

Ocean Revolution Moçambique is empowering the local communities surrounding Inhambane Bay to play a central role in deciding how to best conserve their marine resources. By encouraging the community to become active participant in their conservation efforts, the organization trains the next generation of ecotourism and conservation divers in the region.

Organización de Mujeres Indígenas Unidas por la Biodiversidad de Panamá (OMIUBP) – Panama

This Indigenous, women-led organization builds capacity in biodiversity, climate change, and traditional knowledge conservation techniques. Their overarching goal is to protect jaguars and to preserve territory and culture at the same time.

Mauberema Ecotourism, Nature Conservation, Education Research & Training Center – Papua New Guinea

Breaking barriers in the conservation field of Papua New Guinea, Mauberema Ecotourism, Nature Conservation, Education Research & Training Center is leading a consortium of Indigenous community-based organizations to conserve their ecosystems. As a youth-led organization, they also partner with local universities to spur Indigenous youth to be the future of conservation workers in Papua New Guinea.


For media inquiries please contact Sangita Khadka at sangita.khadka@undp.org.