The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) 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 went to Foundation for Ecological Security (FES), a non-governmental organization in India and member of the ILC, which was ranked top of the 137 applicants from 62 countries.
“We are happy that ‘Commons’ both as resource systems and as a governance paradigm is gaining recognition internationally. With our feet firmly on the ground and with growing enthusiasm, FES will continue to espouse the cause of improved governance of nature and natural resources to provide better opportunities to the rural poor”, said Jagdeesh Rao, Executive Director of FES.
Mr. Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary of the UNCCD, also an ILC member, 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.
“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,” said Mr. Gnacadja. “Poor land governance is one of the leading reasons for the emergence of desertification and land degradation in many parts of the world. FES has found an innovative solution to this problem and for large-scale commons.” 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.