Introducing the 2021 Equator Prize Winners

Image credit: Courtesy of Equator Prize

Introducing the 2021 Equator Prize Winners

Introducing the 2021 Equator Prize Winners! This prestigious accolade is awarded to individuals around the world whose community efforts reduce poverty through the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. Three categories take priority in consideration, Action on Sustainable Food Systems, Action on Climate, and Action on Nature and Green Economy. Last year, One Earth partnered with the Equator Initiative and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) to announce the 2020 Equator Prize Winners. Please join us in celebrating and honoring this year’s winners who have made a difference in their communities and ultimately, our shared planet. 

The winners were selected from a pool of over 600 nominations from 126 countries by an independent Technical Advisory Committee of internationally renowned experts. The selection was based on community-based approaches that provide a blueprint for replicating and scaling solutions to address our biodiversity crisis.

Equator Prize winners demonstrate the benefits of placing Indigenous and local communities’ knowledge and practices of nature-based solutions at the heart of local development. At a time when we are facing an unprecedented planetary crisis, it is essential to showcase actions that restore our sustainable food systems, mitigate climate change and protect nature – all while also contributing to green recovery from the pandemic.

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 and the Nature for Life Hub later this year. They will join a network of 255 communities from over 80 countries that have received the Equator Prize since its inception in 2002. The Equator Prize 2021 Award Ceremony will take place virtually on 4 October.

Meet the winners below.

BIO-KG Federation of Organic Development

Reversing land degradation in rural and mountain communities in Kyrgyzstan, BIO-KG has spearheaded the creation of “Organic Aimaks” (communities), whereby villagers commit to organic-only agriculture based on traditional knowledge and agrobiodiverse food systems. The model was instrumental in the government’s announcement to transition to organic agriculture nationwide within a decade

Tropical Forest and Rural Development

Empowering Indigenous communities in the Dja Biosphere Reserve in Cameroon, this community organization promotes cocoa-based agroforestry and the collection of forest products for better local incomes while protecting a vulnerable forest.

Farmer Union Maddaben of Falwel and Farmer Union Hareyben of Tera, members of the Féderation des Unions de Groupements Paysans du Niger (FUGPN) MOORIBEN

These two farmer unions, part of a coalition of agricultural unions and farmer groups in Niger, have improved food security, local livelihoods, and community adaptation to climate change through the promotion of agrobiodiversity in participatory research, restoration and regeneration of degraded land, and organic agriculture.

Aadhimalai Pazhangudiyinar Producer Company Limited

This 1,700-shareholder cooperative, managed and run entirely by Indigenous people from the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, improves livelihoods for villagers by supporting sustainable collection and cultivation of a wide range of forest produce and crops. Through local value addition, members earn premium prices.

Asociación de Jóvenes Reforestadores en Acción (AJORA

This group of young women and men promotes sustainable agroforestry models and addresses ecosystem loss and degradation through traditional fire management and restoration activities. AJORA helps slow the exodus of rural youth in the Bolivian Amazon.

Snehakunja Trust

Protecting and restoring freshwater swamps, evergreen forests, and mangrove ecosystems, this organization is preserving biodiversity, maintaining aquifers and safeguarding carbon sinks in the Western Ghats and the coast of Karnataka, while empowering local communities to pursue sustainable livelihoods.

Asociación de Mujeres Indígenas del Territorio Cabécar Kábata Könana

Costa Rica
Combining traditional knowledge and social media to ensure food security during a pandemic, the Asociación de Mujeres Indígenas del Territorio Cabécar Kábata Könana is a model for community resilience to climate change and other external shocks.

CoopCerrado – Cooperativa Mista de Agricultores Familiares, Extrativistas, Pescadores, Vazanteiros, Assentados e Guias turisticos do Cerrado

Through creative marketing of dozens of organic, sustainably sourced products from Brazil’s Cerrado ecoregion, this network of over 4,600 families improves local livelihoods, protects biodiversity, and supports the creation of sustainable-use reserves, showing a pathway to a green economy.

Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda IAP

A leader in community-based climate change mitigation and adaptation, Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda IAP has advanced a state-funded carbon footprint mechanism, social entrepreneurship, ecosystem restoration activities and private reserves to holistically protect the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve and promote its 638 communities’ economic and social development.

Pueblo Originario Kichwa de Sarayaku

The Kichwa people of Sarayaku have won legal battles to protect their 133,000-hectare territory in the Amazon rainforest from oil drilling, logging, and road construction. Their “Kawsak Sacha” Declaration (“Living Forest”) seeks recognition for a new category of protected area, reflecting Indigenous worldviews and ancestral practices.

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