Two Indian organisations win UNDP Equator Prize 2021
Aadhimalai Pazhangudiyinar Producer Company Limited and Snehakunja Trust are among the 10 awardees of the prestigious Equator Prize for their work in the field of conservation and biodiversity, said United Nations Development Fund (UNDP).
The UNDP gives a biennial award to recognize community efforts to reduce poverty through the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.
“Two communities from India bag this year’s prestigious UNDP Equator Prize, for their exceptional achievement in showcasing local, innovative, nature-based solutions for tackling biodiversity loss and climate change and achieving their local development goals,” the UNDP said in a statement.
Aadhimalai Pazhangudiyinar Producer Company Limited is a 1,700-member cooperative, managed and run entirely by indigenous people from the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve in Tamil Nadu and its work in the past eight years has improved livelihood across 147 villages by processing and marketing a diverse range of forest produce and crops.
Through local value addition, members earn premium prices on a wide range of products including those collected sustainably from the reserve such as honey, soap nuts and berries and phoenix leaves, and as well as those cultivated organically such as coffee, pepper, silk cotton, cereals, spices and fruits. Shareholders regularly monitor harvesting and agricultural practices to ensure product quality and prevent overuse of resources, said the UNDP statement.
Snehakunja Trust has protected sensitive wetland and coastal ecosystems in the Western Ghats and the Karnataka coast for 45 years with a focus on community-based restoration and conservation, the UNDP statement read.
It added that this organization has supported hundreds of self-help groups and village forest committees to sustainably manage resources based on traditional knowledge, implement natural farming techniques, use clean energy, promote entrepreneurship, and provide community health services, said the UNDP statement. The trust is currently piloting the country’s first blue carbon project.
“We need a profound transformation in our economic and development models that will drive forward the protection and restoration of our natural world,” said UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner, adding that this year’s winners demonstrate that this transformation was already happening.
The winners received a prize of US$10,000 and the opportunity to join a series of special virtual events associated with the UN General Assembly, the Nature for Life Hub, and the UN Food Systems Summit later this year. The virtual award ceremony is scheduled for 4 October 2021.