As a contribution to the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought and the work of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), the Equator Initiative/UNDP, OSISA and ENDA will host a high-level event on June 17th 2014 in Nairobi, Kenya, to recognize and celebrate local grassroots organizations that are improving the livelihoods of rural communities in dryland ecosystems in sub-Saharan Africa, through sustainable land management.
The event will have as its centerpiece the Equator Prize for Sustainable Land Management in Sub-Saharan Africa Award Ceremony, and will recognize 10 outstanding community efforts to reduce poverty through sustainable land management in dryland ecosystems in sub-Saharan Africa. Commitments and award presentations by thought leaders, governments, dignitaries and celebrities will be complemented by high-profile musical performances.
The partnership — The project is part of the multi-agency Global Environment Facility (GEF) Strategic Investment Program for sustainable land management (SLM) in sub-Saharan Africa; implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Namibia Country Office and the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA).
The goal of the project is to improve livelihoods of rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa through sustainable land management. The objective is to empower local grassroots organizations in sub-Saharan Africa to participate and influence in the implementation of the ten-year strategy of the UNCCD, TerrAfrica and other SLM processes, programs and policies.
The GEF unites 183 countries in partnership with international institutions, civil society organizations, and the private sector to address global environmental issues while supporting national sustainable development initiatives. An independently operating financial organization, the GEF provides grants for projects related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer, and persistent organic pollutants.
UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in more than 170 countries and territories, UNDP offers global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations.
OSISA is a growing African institution committed to deepening democracy, protecting human rights and enhancing good governance in the region. OSISA’s vision is to promote and sustain the ideals, values, institutions and practices of open society, with the aim of establishing vibrant and tolerant southern African democracies in which people, free from material and other deprivation, understand their rights and responsibilities and participate actively in all spheres of life.
The prize — The Equator Prize for Sustainable Land Management in Sub-Saharan Africa will be awarded for the first time in 2014 to ten initiatives working in dryland ecosystems. The Equator Prize, however, has been awarded biennially since 2002. The intention is to “shine a spotlight” on inspiring stories of community-based innovation and achievement that can be scaled up and brought to the negotiating table at important pivot points in global policymaking.
The winners — The ten recipients of the Equator Prize for Sustainable Land Management will be groups from sub-Saharan Africa whose work focuses on sustainable land management in dryland ecosystems. Equator Prize winners offer hope and inspiration; they are win-win solutions for people and the environment, they are about overcoming adversity, and they are underscored by community solidarity and cooperation. Equator Prize winners for Sustainable Land Management in Sub-Saharan Africa give the fight against land degradation, environmental decline, and poverty a human face.
The stage — Representatives of winning communities will be celebrated in Africa in order to raise their profile and give them the exposure and the validation they deserve. The event will attract government representatives, UN agencies, practitioners in sustainable development, celebrities, and media.
The opportunity — The World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought will be used to highlight the benefits of sustainable land management practices in the work of local initiatives, as a response to sustainable development challenges in sub-Saharan Africa. The primary goal is to recognize innovation and scale-up the work of the winning initiatives. The end goal is to improve the socio-economic development of rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa through sustainable land management, and to empower local grassroots organizations in sub-Saharan Africa to participate and influence the implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), TerrAfrica and other sustainable land management processes, programs and policies.
The venue — TBD in Nairobi, Kenya.
The focus — The event will honor the achievements of communities in sub-Saharan Africa working to reduce poverty through sustainable land management.
The objectives — The following objectives will guide the design of the event:
- Invigorate collective action for sustainable land management and highlight how local organizations can manage biodiversity and ecosystems to address challenges in drylands ecosystems.
- Provide a high-profile platform to recognize the winners and shine a spotlight on local achievements that can be taken to scale and have a larger impact.
- Attract positive media attention. The event will provide an opportunity to message on the power of local action and the ways in which nature-based solutions can be used to meet challenges in dryland ecosystems.
The program — The program will be structured around the Equator Prize for Sustainable Land Management in Sub-Saharan Africa. Ideally, there would be the announcement of commitments by governments, private sector, foundations, non-governmental organizations, and celebrities.