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A UNDP-led partnership that rewards communities around the world for their conservation and development solutions launched a call for nominations for the Equator Prize 2012, to be submitted online at www.equatorinitiative.org.
The Equator Initiative will award its biennial prize for local solutions in sustainable development at next year's UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).
Nominations are open from 146 countries through October 31, 2011. Eligibility has been expanded to include all countries receiving support from UNDP, making this a truly global award for local best practice.
"We expect some genuinely inspiring examples of community-based development solutions that work for people and the environment," said Veerle Vandeweerd, Director of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) Environment and Energy Group.
"Water and energy access, food security, and adaptation to climate change are the development challenges of our time," she said, nothing that new thematic prizes in these areas will reflect the 2012 emphasis on "resilient communities for sustainable development".
Past award recipients have been grassroots organizations taking action to improve local wellbeing and livelihoods while protecting the environment through, for example, community-based forest management, small-scale fishing, wildlife protection, seed banks, sustainable energy and water access.
The Equator Prize - which has been endorsed by former heads of state Gro Harlem Brundtland (Norway) and Oscar Arias (Costa Rica), philanthropist Ted Turner, a host of Nobel laureates, and celebrities like Gisele Bündchen and Edward Norton- will celebrate its 10-year anniversary next year.
All 25 recipients of next year's prize will receive US$5,000, with 10 selected for "special recognition" and a total of US $20,000 each.
Representatives of winning communities will participate at a community meeting in conjunction with the Rio+20 event where they will be celebrated on an international stage, connected with policymakers and recognized as leaders in their fields.
The Equator Initiative is a partnership that brings together the UN, governments, civil society, businesses and grassroots organizations to advance local solutions for people, the environment and resilient communities in a changing world.
Current partners of the initiative include: Conservation International; Convention on Biological Diversity; Ecoagriculture Partners; Fordham University; German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development; International Union for Conservation of Nature; The Nature Conservancy; Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Rare; Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA); UN Environment Program; UNDP; and UN Foundation.
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