SEED celebrates the success of former SEED Award winner on International Day for Biological Diversity
Established in 1992 by the UN General Assembly, the International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) is celebrated annually on 22 May – the date of adoption of the Convention of Biological Diversity.
This year the IBD has the overarching theme Island Biodiversity, paying tribute to the fact that islands and their surrounding near-shore marine areas constitute unique ecosystems often comprising many plant and animal species that are endemic – found nowhere else on Earth. They are also key to the livelihood, economy, well-being and cultural identity of 600 million islanders – one-tenth of the world’s population - which is why the United Nations General Assembly also designated 2014 as the International Year of Small Island Developing States.
Celebrating this year’s IDB and its focus on islands and marine areas, the SEED Initiative is especially pleased to be able to congratulate “Madagascar's first community-run marine protected area” for recently having been awarded the prestigious St. Andrews Prize for the Environment. They were one of the first SEED Award Winners, in 2005, and have since then scaled-up their integrative approach of empowering local communities in southwest Madagascar to protect their marine environment and manage their resources sustainably.
In 2005 this partnership between a local community, international NGOs and research institutions was selected as a SEED Winner in recognition of the establishment of Madagascar’s first community-run Marine Protected Area (MPA), and for demonstrating that economic, conservation and fisheries benefits can go hand in hand. Blue Ventures, working together with the Vezo population in the remote villages developed management solutions to help recovery and sustainability of the traditional artisanal fishing economy as well as to minimise its impacts on the region’s marine and coastal environments.
As an estimated 12 per cent of the Earth’s land surface is now held in protected areas but only about one percent of the world’s seas and oceans enjoy the same rights, SEED is proud that in this year’s IDB focus on islands and their surrounding near-shore marine areas, Blue Ventures has been awarded the St. Andrews Prize for the Environment. This success reflects the impressive expansion of their programme with local communities to include sea cucumber farming, health advice and clinics, and educational scholarships, and to take the model to other areas in Madagascar and other regions.