Over the past two weeks in Hyderabad at the Convention on Biological Diversity, the United Nations Development Programme Equator Initiative has highlighted representatives from 20 case studies, culminating in a launch event on Tuesday for a database and lessons learned report. This years marks the 10th anniversary of the Equator Prize, a biannual award given to outstanding local initiatives that are working to advance sustainable development solutions for people, nature, and resilient communities.
The database contains 127 detailed case studies on Equator Prize winners, including 49 related to ecoagriculture and food security. Each case study documents local best practices in biodiversity conservation and poverty reduction, as well as ecological, socio-economic, health, and policy impacts of the project. Moreover, the case studies outline the key institutional frameworks, governance systems, activities and innovations that made the projects successful.
One example of this year’s winners – the Abrha Weatsbha community in Northern Ethiopia – has incorporated trees into farmers fields to improve soil fertility, boost crop yields, and better manage scarce water resources. Or the Anja Miray Association, a youth-led group in Madagascar that has served as a model of community-based forest management.
To celebrate its 10-year anniversary, the Equator Initiative has also undertaken a comprehensive analysis of the commonalities, trends and lessons across its pool of Equator Prize winners. The Power of Local Action draws its analysis from Equator Prize winners. Twelve key lessons – including reference to the environment-development link, the importance of partnerships, and how scaling-up can bring about landscape-level change – provides insight into understanding and catalyzing effective ecosystem-based action at the local level.