Biodiversity, Ecosystems and Climate Change: Scaling Up Local Solutions to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals
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UNDP, together with a range of partners, organized a High Level Event on Biodiversity, Ecosystems and Climate Change: Scaling Up Local Solutions to Achieve the MDGs in support of the UN MDG Review Summit on Monday 20 September at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

The event attracted over 500 participants, including: heads of state, ministers and members of the diplomatic corps from more than 60 countries; celebrities serving as UN Goodwill Ambassadors; top officials from UN agencies, civil society organizations, foundations and the private sector; leading academics and experts; and the media.

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Policy Forum

The evening opened with a Policy Forum which focused on the critical linkages between biodiversity loss and degraded ecosystems, climate change and MDG achievement, and the need for a more concerted effort to scale up proven front-line solutions advanced by local and indigenous communities and organizations. Panelists agreed on the need for integrated policy approaches that tackle these challenges simultaneously, while also creating the enabling conditions for effective local action. The Policy Forum was moderated by Andrew Revkin, award-winning environmental reporter and author, and included Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity; Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change; Angel Gurria, Secretary General, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development; Leonardo B. Rosario, Executive Director, Trowel Development Foundation in the Philippines; Erik Solheim, Minister of Environment and International Development, Government of Norway; and Pavan Sukhdev, Director, The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB).

Further information is available here: Program / Photos / Video 1 / Video 2


Following the Policy Forum, a reception was held in the Hall of Northwest Coast Indians, which featured statements by Ted Turner, Chairman, United Nations Foundation; Gisele Bündchen, supermodel and UNEP Goodwill Ambassador; and Anggun, FAO Goodwill Ambassador. 

Further information is available here: Video of Gisele Bündchen's and Ted Turner's statement

High-Level Dinner and Equator Prize Award Ceremony

Charles McNeill, UNDP, served as Master of Ceremonies. The evening program opened with a keynote address by UNDP Administrator Helen Clark and the launch of UNDP's "Local Capacity Strategy: Enabling Action for the Environment and Sustainable Development." "Poverty reduction strategies and efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change cannot succeed without being rooted in the demands, capabilities, and actions of local organizations," said Clark. "Biodiversity conservation will not be effective without the active engagement of local communities, which comprise the primary daily users of nature's resources. This underlines the importance of empowering local actors for MDG acceleration."

Following the keynote address, former Senator Timothy Wirth, President of the United Nations Foundation, announced the establishment of the Global Partnership for Community-Based Adaptation (GPCBA). Working through the UNDP/GEF Small Grants Programme, the new partnership aims to promote and expand support for community-led approaches to climate change adaptation.

The centerpiece of the evening program was the Equator Prize 2010 Award Ceremony. Twenty-five local and indigenous community groups from across the developing world were presented with the Equator Prize in recognition of outstanding work in biodiversity conservation, poverty reduction and adaptation to climate change. After the award presentations, three community representatives - My Hanh Diep Thi of the Bambou Village de Phu An (Vietnam), Masingita (Mavis) Hatlane of the Makuleke Community: Pafuri Camp (South Africa), and María Alejandra Velasco Perrado from the Consejo Regional Tsimane' Mosetene - Pilon Lajas (Bolivia) - delivered a powerful statement to the audience on the need for greater community voice in national and global policy fora, and the need for more effective partnerships and expanded support to scale-up local best practices.

This statement was also delivered by Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu of the Smallholders Foundation (Nigeria) at the UN Special Session on Biodiversity on 22 September.  Please follow the hyperlinks below to view speeches, photos, video footage, and publications from the event:

Further information is available here: Program / Photos / Videos

Working Documents
UNDP's Local Capacity Strategy: Enabling Action for the Environment and Sustainable Development;

Ecosystems, Climate Change and the Millennium Development Goals: Scaling Up Local Solutions – A Framework for Action, a Working Paper prepared by the World Resources Institute and UNDP for the MDG 2010 Review Summit;

Equator Prize 2010 Brochure;

Partner publications related to the event's main theme.

Opening Remarks
Ellen V. Futter, President, American Museum of Natural History [video]

Keynote Address
Helen Clark
, Administrator, United Nations Development Programme [transcript / video]

Announcement of the Establishment of the Global Partnership for Community-based Adaptation
Timothy E. Wirth, President, United Nations Foundation [video / CBA video / CBA brochure]

Equator Prize 2010 Award Ceremony Introduction [Equator Prize 2010 video]
Veerle Vandeweerd, Director, Environment and Energy Group, UNDP [video]

Regional: Africa
Dirk Niebel, Federal Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany [video]
Edward Norton, UN Goodwill Ambassador for Biodiversity [video]
Special Recognition: Association ADIDY Maitso from Madagascar

Regional: Asia and the Pacific
Mark Tercek
, President and CEO, The Nature Conservancy [video]
Hideki Minamikawa, Vice-Minister for Global Environmental Affairs, Japan [video]
Special Recognition: Monks Community Forest from Cambodia

Regional: Latin America and the Caribbean
Peter Seligmann
, CEO, Conservation International [video]
Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, Director General, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency [video]
Special Recognition: Kapawi Ecotourism Complex from Ecuador

Special Recognition: Indigenous Knowledge
Gro Harlem Brundtland
, Member of the UN Secretary-General's Global Sustainability Panel [video]
Philippe Cousteau, CEO, EarthEcho International [video]
Special Recognition: Tsimane Mosetene Regional Council - Pilon Lajas from Bolivia

Special Recognition: Ecosystem-based Adaptation
Inger Andersen
, Vice President for Sustainable Development, World Bank [video]
Julia Marton Lefevre, Director General, IUCN-International Union for Conservation of Nature [video]
Special Recognition: Local Federation of GIE of Niodior (FELOGIE) from Senegal

Community Statement
My Hanh Diep Thi
, María Alejandra Velasco Perrado, and Masingita Hatlane [transcript / video]

Way Forward
Achim Steiner
, Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme [video]

Media Coverage:

USA TodayDaily MailThe New York Times, NPRWorld News NetworkAll AfricaSustainable Living MagazineAfrica Dynamics NewsWorld Resources InstituteUNDP NewsroomInternational Institute for Sustainable Development Earth Negotiations Bulletin (IISD-ENB) SummaryInternational Institute for Sustainable Development Earth Negotiations Bulletin (IISD-ENB) PhotosConservation InternationalWWFAusAidUSAID East AfricaARC News & ResourcesYemen OnlineYemen Today MagazineYemen ObserverWilderness Safaris Press ReleasePACT NewsLook At VietnamSmallholders Foundation NewsVietnam NewsTravelWires.comDayLife.comGoForWood.infoPanache MagazineSocialite LifePopSugar.ComImNotObsessed.comHello MagazineX17 OnlineIPL

UNDP Media Advisory

Community Summit and local-global connections
Representatives of the Equator Prize 2010 winning communities came to New York from 15-23 September to participate in a Community Summit "dialogue space", where they shared experiences of their work and engaged in UNDP-sponsored workshops on among others: indigenous and community conserved areas; business and biodiversity; ecotourism, marine and coastal resource management; forest management; eco-agriculture; adaptation to climate change; and indigenous knowledge.

Nine community leaders were selected by their countries to participate in the UN General Assembly Special Session on Biodiversity as part of their official national delegations. My Hanh Diep Thi, representing the Bamboo Village in Vietnam, was invited by the President of Viet Nam to share a flight back to their country to discuss how lessons from her project could be scaled up. Additionally, Renato Delgado from the Associacão Comunitária Nova Experiência Marítima da Cruzinha da Garca in Cape Verde was invited to present his community's work at a Participation in Planning and Development Seminar at Harvard University.

The Equator Prize 2010 winners were awarded one of only three speaking slots assigned to non-governmental organizations in the UN General Assembly Special Session on Biodiversity. As elected by other prize winning communities to represent them, Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu of the Smallholders Foundation, Nigeria, stressed that "our work can be supported and replicated by scaling-up initiatives such as the GEF Small Grants Programme and the Equator Initiative." [transcript]

Deepest thanks to our partners, without whom this event would not have been possible: