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.
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.
Twenty-five winners were presented with the Equator Prize at a gala event in New York City at the American Museum of Natural History on September 20, 2010. Goodwill Ambassadors present included Edward Norton, Gisele Bündchen, Catarina Furtado, Paul Tergat and Anggun. The winners were selected from a field of finalists to receive the Equator Prize 2010 and US$5,000 each. Five of these communities received special recognition and an additional US$15,000. Special recognition was given in the following categories: one for each region of eligibility (Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean), one to the initiative that best exemplifies Indigenous Peoples’ use of Traditional Knowledge, and one to the initiative that best exemplifies ecosystem-based adaptation to climate change.
In addition to worldwide recognition for their work as well as an opportunity to help shape national and global policy and practice in the field, all nominees for the Prize become part of the Equator Initiative’s global network and are profiled in the Equator Initiative biodiversity best practice database.
Partners for the 2010 event included the American Museum of Natural History, the Equator Initiative, Conservation International, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (Germany), the Nature Conservancy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Norway), Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), UNDP/GEF Small Grants Programme, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Foundation, USAID, Wildlife Conservation Society, World Resources Institute (WRI), and WWF.
- "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
- "Equator Prize 2010 Brochure"
- "Partner publications"
- "25 Equator prize winners honoured for saving the environment and reducing poverty", UNDP Newsroom, September 20, 2010
- "Equator Prize" Equator Initiative official website
- MacFarquhar, Neil "Trying to Lace Together a Consensus on Biodiversity Across a Global Landscape", 'The New York Times, September 29, 2010, accessed November 1, 2010.
- "Equator Prize" Equator Initiative official website, Award Dinner