New York, June 5 - Indonesia’s Forum Musyawarah Masyarakat Adat Taman Nasional Kayan Mentarang (Alliance of the Indigenous Peoples of the Kayan Mentarang National Park) has been named as one of the recipients of the Equator Prize 2020. The award is brought by The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and partners.

The announcement coincides with the marking of World Environment Day on June 5.

Bringing together 11 indigenous groups spread over 20,000 km2, Forum Musyawarah Masyarakat Adat Taman Nasional Kayan Mentarang (FoMMA) successfully advocated for the first co-management arrangement for a National Park in Indonesia, where government and indigenous authorities decide jointly on resource managements and access and use rights.

In 2019, Indonesia’s Dayak Iban Sungai Utik Long House, from West Kalimantan won the Equator Prize

The Equator Prize recognizes 10 local and indigenous communities from across the world. The winning organizations showcase innovative, nature-based solutions for tackling biodiversity loss and climate change.

For years, Equator Prize winners representing indigenous communities have been urging to adopt a more indigenous-inspired way of coexisting with nature, acknowledging and respecting the connection between human and planetary health. Now, they are reiterating that message in light of the coronavirus—how protection, sustainable use, and restoration of nature can secure well-being and livelihoods for communities all over the world.

“Our community of 3,000 people have swiftly responded to the impacts of COVID-19 to save people from starvation. We are providing over 7,500 people each week with basic food necessities from our own first model community-garden. The objective now is to motivate the villagers to replicate the idea. Ensuring food security by increasing our conservation efforts is vital”, says Nelson Reiyia, Director at the Nashulai Maasai Conservancy, which is one of the new Equator Prize winning organizations.

This is the first time the Equator Prize has been awarded to groups from Canada and Myanmar. Winners are also based in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Guatemala, Indonesia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mexico, and Thailand. During the ‘Super Year for Nature’, their approaches exemplify what actions can be taken to protect crucial ecosystems and biodiversity for generations to come. The achievements of the winners also show how indigenous peoples and local communities have confronted legacies of disadvantage and discrimination in support of their communities, and the world at large.

“As our natural world faces a range of unprecedented challenges, the Equator Prize lifts the curtain on a range of exceptional nature-based solutions pioneered by local communities and indigenous peoples,” says UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner. “Indeed, as countries move to build back better after the COVID-19 pandemic, these innovative ways to protect ecosystems, biodiversity and tackle climate change are more important than ever -- I expect that the incredible efforts of the Equator Prize winners will have a ripple effect across the world.”

“At the same time, many of these communities are increasingly facing an erosion of their rights through land grabs, illegal mining or logging so recovery and resilience-building efforts must strive to bolster the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities,” he added.

Equator Prize winners will each receive US$10,000 and the opportunity to join a series of special events associated with the UN General Assembly, the UN Nature Summit and the Global Climate Week in late September. They will join a network of 245 communities from 81 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, Estee Lauder Companies, Fordham University, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, The Nature Conservancy, PCI Media Impact, Rainforest Foundation Norway, Rare, UNEP, UNDP, UN Foundation, USAID, WWF, and the Wildlife Conservation Society.

The winners were selected from a pool of 583 nominations from over 120 countries by an independent Technical Advisory Committee of internationally renowned experts. The selection was based on community-based approaches that provide a blueprint for replication and scaling solutions to address our biodiversity crisis. For more information, please visit www.equatorinitiative.org or join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter by using #EquatorPrize.

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Media enquiries: Sangita Khadka, Communications Specialist, UNDP New York, sangita.khadka@undp.org.

 

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