As part of the events marking the World Environment Day, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and partners on Wednesday, June 5, 2019 announced the winners of the 10th Equator Prize, recognising 22 local and indigenous communities from across the world. The winning organisations, which showcase innovative, nature-based solutions for tackling climate change, environment, and poverty challenges, will be honoured at a celebratory gala on September 24, 2019 in New York.
One of the winners is the Environmental Management and Development Trust (EMADET) Nigeria. EMADET’s initiative focuses on integrated cocoa agroforestry and intensification of planting of under-storey useful plants such as Thaumatococcus danielli (or T.danielli) (Eweeran in the Yoruba Language), most particularly in degrading forest habitats. The project location is Ileran and adjoining villages in Ayedire Local Government area of Osun State. The area is the extreme end of the tropical rainforest belt and within the catchment/watershed of the Osun River in Osun State, Nigeria.
The project encourages multi-storey management of cocoa and other economic / and or fruit trees as well as improved in farm hygiene and integrated pest management. It reinforces the need for rational uses of chemicals to boost biodiversity in cocoa agroforests. The initiative also works in collaboration with two women trader groups in the trade of T.danielli leaves and hope to build a network of women traders on the trade as well as planning to embrace new technology through collaboration with business partners on the production of leaf plates to reduce and eventually stop the growing trend of the use of nylon and plastics for packaging local food such as moin moin (a variant of bean cake) and agidi / eko (a popular corn meal food) in southwest Nigeria.
The project promotes advocacy on the use of T.danielli leaf instead of nylon and plastics for packaging local hot food. Thaumatococcus daniellii, a non sacchariferous sweet plant that normally grows throughout the West African rain forest zone, is said to be one of the many underutilised plants in Nigeria. Its cultivation in cocoa agroforests is recommended to boost crop production, income generation and promote local food culture.
The initiative received the UNDP/Global Environment Facility Grant in 2017 and belongs to the network of GEF-SGP Grantees Network in West Africa.
In a congratulatory message sent to the Director of EMADET, Alade Adeleke, the Global Environment Facility – Small Grant Programme Nigeria, stated: “With joy in our hearts, we want to officially announce to you that SGP Nigeria grantee won the 2019 Equator Award. Congratulations to Mr Alade Adeleke of the Environmental Management and Development Trust (EMADET). In this global competition, only four SGP grantees won. They include Brazil, Micronesia, Guinea Bissau and Nigeria.”
Mr Adeleke used to head the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF).
The winners were selected from a pool of 847 nominations across 127 countries by an independent Technical Advisory Committee of internationally renowned experts. The four-stage selection process emphasised community-based approaches that provide a blueprint for replication and scaling solutions to address our climate crisis.
Equator Prize winners will each receive $10,000 and the opportunity for two community representatives to join a week-long summit in New York during the 74th United Nations General Assembly. They will be celebrated at the Equator Prize Award Ceremony on September 24, 2019, at the Town Hall theatre in Midtown Manhattan, featuring celebrities, government and UN officials, civil society, and the media.
The winners will join a network of 223 communities from 78 countries that have received the Equator Prize since its inception in 2002.