Blue Ventures, one of five winners to receive the award during a gala ceremony in New York, is the first European organization to ever win the prize.
The awards are run by the Seed Initiative, a partnership between the The World Conservation Union (IUCN), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The winners were selected from over 260 entries from 66 countries, representing 1,200 organisations. They were chosen for their potential to advance sustainable development in their communities and contribute to the UN’s Millennium Development Goals. They also recogised the winner’s ability to demonstrate that, through partnerships between communities, non-governmental organizations, businesses and public authorities, innovative and novel solutions for delivering sustainable development and sustainable livelihoods can be born and fostered.
Blue Ventures’ partnership project ‘Madagascar’s first community-run, experimental Marine Protected Area’ was chosen as a ‘shining example of how economic development and environmental protection can go hand in hand,’ according to the international panel which made the selection.
The marine protected area, established in November 2004, not only protects marine species from over-fishing, but also promotes the sustainability of local fisheries and livelihoods. The area also serves as a regional eco-tourist attraction, generating revenue for the management of the project.
The announcement of the winning partnerships was made last night by Klaus Toepfer, Executive Director of UNEP and Achim Steiner, Director General of the IUCN, at a reception during the 13th Meeting of the United Nations Committee on Sustainable Development in New York.
Valli Moosa, President of the IUCN and Shoji Nishimoto, Assistant Administrator of UNDP were also present on behalf of the Seed partners.
The awards were presented by ministers and diplomats of the countries of the award-winning projects. His Excellency Ambassador Zina Andrianarivelo, Permanent Representative of the Mission of Madagascar to the UN, presented the award to Professor Edouard Mara of the Institut Helieutique et des Sciences Marines at the University of Toliara, and Alasdair Harris, Tom Savage and Anju Nihalani from Blue Ventures Conservation.
Blue Ventures would like to thank Wexas Travel and British Airways Assisting Conservation (BAAC) for their support in assisting Blue Ventures representatives to attend the SEED Awards Ceremony in New York.