Women participants in the project involved in the production of leaf to wrap local foods (Photo, UNDP Nigeria/ Ibironke Favour Olubamise)


UNDP and partners have announced the winners of the 10th Equator Prize, recognizing 22 local and indigenous communities from across the world showcasing innovative, nature-based solutions for tackling climate change, environment, and poverty challenges. The winners will be honoured at a celebratory gala on 24 September in New York.

Nigeria’s own, food wrap Non-Governmental Organisation, Environmental Management and Development Trust (EMADET) is among the 22 outstanding winners. The organisation promotes the production of leaf to wrap local foods consequently reducing the growing trend of using plastic-based materials for packaging. EMADET supports a dynamic network of women promoting cocoa agroforestry and the production of the so-called miracle fruit as a plastic alternative for local markets in southwestern Nigeria.

This is the first time the Equator Prize has been awarded to groups from Guinea-Bissau, as well as to indigenous communities in Australia and the United States. Winners are also based in Benin, Brazil, Cameroon, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Micronesia, Pakistan, Peru, Tanzania and Vanuatu.

UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner stated, “Every day, thousands of local communities and indigenous peoples around the world are quietly implementing innovative nature-based solutions to mitigate and adapt to climate change.  The Equator Prize is both a recognition of their exceptional ideas and a way to showcase the power of people and grassroots communities to bring about real change.”

The winners were selected from a pool of 847 nominations across 127 countries by an independent Technical Advisory Committee of internationally renowned experts. The four-stage selection process emphasized community-based approaches that provide a blueprint for replication and scaling solutions to address our climate crisis.

The Equator Prize recognizes innovative initiatives from local communities and indigenous people who demonstrate exceptional achievements in the areas of nature-based actions that address climate change mitigation, adaptation, and advance local sustainable development. 

Winning initiatives are being honoured for their successes to protect, restore, sustainably manage terrestrial and marine ecosystems, thereby helping to mitigate and adapt to climate change and by so doing keep the ecosystems intact, promote local models for climate-smart-food and agricultural production systems. 

Equator Prize winners will each receive US$10,000 and the opportunity for two community representatives to join a week-long summit in New York during the 74th United Nations General Assembly. They will be celebrated at the Equator Prize Award Ceremony on 24 September 2019, at the Town Hall theatre in Midtown Manhattan, featuring celebrities, government and UN officials, civil society, and the media. The winners will join a network of 223 communities from 78 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, Fordham University, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, The Nature Conservancy, PCI Media Impact, Rainforest Foundation Norway, Rare, UN Environment, UNDP, UN Foundation, USAID, WWF, and the Wildlife Conservation Society.

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