15 Sept 2020, Thailand – Chiang Khong District, Chiang Rai Province. The United Nations Development Programme and The The Regional Community Forestry Training Center for Asia and the Pacific (RECOFTC) joined the provincial administration and local civil groups to present the 2020 Equator Prize Award to the ‘Boon Rueng Wetland Forest Conservation Group’ and celebrate its achievement with community members and groups.

The Group is among ten outstanding indigenous and local groups from across the world which received this global award from the UNDP this year.

The Group has maintained stewardship over the largest wetland forest in the Ing River Basin through advocacy and dialogue. A community forestry model protects an ecosystem critical for agriculture and consumption, habitat, carbon storage and biodiversity preservation in the Indo-Burma Region from a special economic zone development plan.

Handing over the award to the community, UNDP Thailand’s Resident Representative Renaud Meyer said, ”I congratulate the group for this award and showcasing nature-based solutions to protect the wetland. As countries move to build forward after the COVID-19 pandemic, these solutions will help to protect ecosystem and tackle climate change.”

Thailand’s award ceremony was organized by the Boon Rueng Wetland Forest Conservation Group, together with Ing People’s Assembly, Living River Association, Mekong Community Institute, Pung Paya Payao Institute, Chiang Kong Conservation Group, Community and Mountainous area s Development Foundation, Chiang Rai Natural Resources and Environment Office, The Institute of Biodiversity and Environment for Local and ASEAN Development, Chiang Rai Rajabhat University, and Payao TV. It is supported by the Equator Prize Initiative, UNDP Thailand, and RECOFTC.

In August 2015 the community of Boon Rueang established the Boon Rueang Wetland Forest Conservation Group to advocate and generate funds for protection of the wetland forest covering 483 hectares. These wetlands are the foundation of their livelihood and culture. The wetland forest is contained within the Ing River Watershed, a 260-kilometre river basin that flows from Phayao Province to Chiang Rai Province in northern Thailand and on to the Mekong River. The community generates income from managing the wetland fishery. The income is directed into a village fund, with a portion reserved annually for conservation and maintenance of the wetland. 

Equator Prize winners receive US$10,000 and the opportunity to join a series of special events associated with the UN General Assembly, the UN Nature Summit and the Global Climate Week in late September. They will join a network of 245 communities from 81 countries that have received the Equator Prize since its inception in 2002.

Other winners this year are from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Guatemala, Indonesia, Kenya, Madagascar and Mexico. The global award ceremony will be held on September 29th, in conjunction with the UN Biodiversity Summit on September 30th and the UN General Assembly.

The Equator Prize has been supported by former Heads of State Gro Harlem Brundtland and Oscar Arias, Nobel Prize winners Al Gore and Elinor Ostrom, thought leaders Jane Goodall and Jeffrey Sachs, indigenous rights leader Vicky Tauli-Corpuz, philanthropists Richard Branson and Ted Turner, and celebrities Edward Norton, Alec Baldwin, Gisele Bündchen, and many more. Partners of the Equator Initiative include the governments of Germany, Norway, and Sweden, as well as Conservation International, the Convention on Biological Diversity, EcoAgriculture Partners, Estee Lauder Companies, Fordham University, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, The Nature Conservancy, PCI Media Impact, Rainforest Foundation Norway, Rare, UNEP, UNDP, UN Foundation, USAID, WWF, and the Wildlife Conservation Society.

The winners were selected from a pool of 583 nominations from over 120 countries by an independent Technical Advisory Committee of internationally renowned experts. The selection was based on community-based approaches that provide a blueprint for replication and scaling solutions to address our biodiversity crisis.

Each winner showcases innovative, nature-based solutions for tackling biodiversity, climate change, and poverty challenges. The event highlights concrete responses and practical solutions to the environmental crisis from indigenous peoples and local communities all over the world.

For more information, please contact:

Saengroj Srisawaskraisorn, Programme Specialist / Team Leader, Inclusive Green Growth and Sustainable Development Unit  Email: saengroj.srisawaskraisorn@undp.org






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