UN Equator Prize Goes to Naghadeh

Sep 24, 2015

 Water canals of Uromiyeh Lake Satellite Wetlands of Sirangoli Wetland (Dashdorge or Dorgesangi as the locals call it) located in Naghadeh plain to the South of Uromiyeh Lake. These water canals once blocked due to lack of maintenance were opened and maintained by the Central Committee for Revitalizing the Naghadeh Wetlands under GEF SGP UNDP Sirangoli Project

In exciting news for the wetlands initiatives in Iran, the Umbrella Group of Naghadeh NGOs was awarded one of the 21 prizes for the United Nation’s Equator Prize.  The announcement was made at a press conference on Monday, September 21st in New York by the award-winning American actor and animal rights activist, Alec Baldwin.

The Equator Prize is the flagship programme of the Equator Initiative, a partnership bringing together the UN, governments, civil society, businesses, and grassroots organizations to advance sustainable development solutions.  This international award recognizes outstanding community efforts to reduce poverty, protect nature and strengthen resilience in the face of climate change.

  Sirangoli Wetland before revitalization

Iran’s NGO Umbrella Group of Naghadeh is the first organization from Iran to receive this prestigious Equator Prize.  Naghaded was specifically recognized for their leadership on environmental conservation and community-based adaptation to climate change. The group was also commended for its focus on water management issues that include wetland restoration, adaptation to droughts, farm irrigation and sedimentation in canals in the areas surrounding Lake Urmia, the world’s second largest hyper-saline lake.

Commenting on the winners of this year’s Equator Prize, Ms. Helen Clark, and the UNDP Administrator, said: “These winners show what is possible when indigenous peoples and local communities are backed by rights to manage their lands, territories and natural resources.”

“The bottom line,” continued Ms. Clark, “is that land rights for indigenous people are good for the climate and good for sustainable development.” 

  Once a completely dried area has been revitalized as a result of community and NGO’s work

The Equator Prize, which aims to recognize collective action, commended the innovative and collaborative approach taken by the seven community NGOs connected to Naghadeh. These community initiatives cooperated to restore and conserve satellite wetlands surround Lake Urmia and succeeded in restoring over 1,600 hectares of valuable wetland areas.

The Equator Prize winners will be invited to attend the 6th Sustainable Innovation Forum on Climate Action - COP21 – in December 2015 where they will receive their awards and a cash prize of US$10,000.

For more information on the Umbrella Group of Naghadeh NGOs, or to find summaries on all the winning communities, please visit Equator Initiative.


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