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UNCCD Announces 2013 Winners of Land for Life Award

​​Top sustainable land management prize totaling USD 100,000 goes to development organizations in India, Mexico and Australia

(17/06/2013) Ghent, Belgium. For the second year running, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) has announced the winners of the 2013 Land for Life Award with a USD 100,000 cash award, to shine the spotlight on organizations that show tangible evidence in combating desertification, land degradation and drought. The announcement was made as part of the worldwide celebrations of the World Day to Combat Desertification taking place today.
The first prize award of USD 40,000 goes to Foundation for Ecological Security (FES), a non-governmental organization in India, which was ranked top of the 137 applicants from 62 countries.

The second place was a tie between Consejo Civil Mexicano para la Silvicultura Sostenible (CCMSS) from Mexico for its work in the Amanalco Valle Bravo Basin in central Mexico and World Vision Australia for popularizing Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration in the Sahel region in Africa.

Mr. Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary of the UNCCD, announced the winners this morning at the Conference on Desertification and Land Degradation from the City of Ghent, Belgium, which is hosting the World Day global observance.


“These three winners exemplify the type of leadership and initiatives that make the difference at the grassroots level. They improve livelihoods while fostering good land stewardship. Much of what they offer is simple, but transformational,” Mr. Gnacadja said.

“We recognize innovative community initiatives that can be replicated to strengthen the resilience of vulnerable and affected populations. What is needed now are policies to attract investment to scale them up and roll them out,” he added.


The organization Rehabilitation of Arid Environments in Kenya received special mention from the jury for their achievements in drylands area of Baringo County, helping rural communities to regenerate degraded land.


 During the event, Gnacadja also announced that Eritrea, Hungary, Kenya, Portugal and Thailand were unveiling their Drylands Champions as part of the worldwide observances to celebrate the Day.

He said their zeal, drive and sacrifice keep alive the hope for a productive land heritage for children yet unborn. They “are the global land heroes of our time,” he said.

The jury for the Land for Life Award is independent with experts drawn from the field of sustainable land management. It includes personalities like Ms. Yolanda Kakabadse, President of WWF, Dr. Vandana Shiva, a renowned environmental activist from India, Dr. Dennis Garrity, former executive director of World Agroforestry Center and Dr. Mary Seely from the Desert Research Foundation in Namibia, among other respected experts from academia, government, and civil society.

"We are recognizing organizations that have innovated techniques that have jumped the gap and are being applied with large scale impacts and potential for replicability globally as well as nationally,” said Dr. Garrity, speaking on behalf of the Jury.  “Each of these initiatives has engaged thousands of rural people and they work at the community level, motivating smallholder farming households to actively engage as stewards of the soil."  (ends)

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