The Equator Prize, organized by the Equator Initiative within the United Nations Development Programme, is awarded biennially to recognize outstanding community efforts to reduce poverty through the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. As sustainable community initiatives take root throughout the tropics, they are laying the foundation for a global movement of local successes that are collectively making a contribution to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). As local and indigenous groups across the tropics demonstrate and exemplify sustainable development, the Equator Prize shines a spotlight on their efforts by celebrating them on an international stage.
The Equator Prize 2015 was awarded on 7 December to 21 outstanding local and indigenous community initiatives that are advancing innovative solutions for people, nature and resilient communities. Each winning initiative received US$10,000 was supported to participate in a series of special events at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, France in December 2015.
The Equator Prize 2015 showcases outstanding local and indigenous community efforts to reduce poverty, protect nature, and strengthen resilience in the face of climate change. In keeping with the themes of COP21 and the imperative of empowering indigenous peoples and local communities in the new climate agreement, the Equator Prize 2015 places special emphasis on the following:
- Local Climate Solutions: Indigenous peoples and local communities that are improving livelihoods and wellbeing through the protection, restoration and sustainable management of forests; sustainable agriculture and food security; community-based adaptation to climate change; or biodiversity conservation.
- Indigenous Peoples and Community Empowerment: Indigenous peoples and local communities that are working to protect and secure rights to their lands, territories and natural resources.
- Innovative Partnerships: Indigenous peoples and local communities that are forging innovative partnerships with governments, private sector companies and other stakeholders to advance inclusive climate and development solutions.
Equator Prize winners are selected based on the following criteria:
- Impact: Initiatives that reduce poverty through the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, or through equitable benefit sharing from the use of genetic resources.
- Partnerships: Initiatives that adopt a partnership approach by linking activities with non-governmental organizations, community-based organizations, the private sector, governments, research and/or academic institutions, and public or private foundations.
- Sustainability: Initiatives that demonstrate at least three years of successful and lasting changes in local socio-economic conditions and have positive impacts on biodiversity.
- Innovation and Transferability: Initiatives that demonstrate new and adaptable approaches that overcome prevailing constraints and offer knowledge, experience and lessons of relevance to other communities.
- Leadership and Community Empowerment: Initiatives that demonstrate leadership that inspires action and change consistent with the vision of the Equator Initiative, including policy and/or institutional change and the empowerment of local people, especially marginalized groups.
- Gender Equality and Social Inclusion: Initiatives that incorporate social and cultural diversity and promote gender equality.
Nominations and eligibility
Equator Prize nominations are accepted from three regions of eligibility within the equatorial belt (23.5 degrees north and south of the equator): Asia and the Pacific, Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean. A Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) selects the twenty-five Equator Prize winners, a pool that is further narrowed to five special recognition communities by an eminent jury of leading conservation and development professionals. Representatives of winning communities are sometimes sponsored to participate in Equator Initiative “dialogue spaces” and a high-level award ceremony.
In addition to worldwide recognition for their work, a monetary award, and an opportunity to shape national and global policy, all nominees are invited to join the Community Knowledge Service (CKS) and are profiled in the Equator Knowledge Zone (EKZ) database of practice.
World Network of Indigenous Peoples and Local Community Land and Sea Managers
The World Network of Indigenous Peoples and Local Community Land and Sea Managers (WIN) is a network that brings together indigenous and local community land and sea managers to share their knowledge and practices in managing ecosystems, protecting the environment and supporting sustainable livelihoods.
The overall aim of WIN is to facilitate increased learning among indigenous and local community land and sea managers to:
- better conserve biological diversity;
- sustainably use natural resources;
- improve knowledge transmission; and
- improve economic opportunities for sustainable livelihoods.
- "25 Equator prize winners honoured for saving the environment and reducing poverty", UNDP Newsroom, September 20, 2010
- "Equator Prize" Equator Initiative official website
- The Equator Prize 2015
- The WIN World Network of Indigenous Peoples and Local Community Land and Sea Managers
- "UNDP's Local Capacity Strategy: Enabling Action for the Environment and Sustainable Development"
- "Ecosystems, Climate Change and the Millennium Development Goals: Scaling Up Local Solutions – A Framework for Action" a Working Paper prepared by the World Resources Institute and UNDP for the MDG 2010 Review Summit
- "Partner publications"
- "Equator Prize Winner Case Study Database"