TOKYO: Dr. Vandana Shiva, Founder and Director of Navdanya has been announced as one of the winners of MIDORI Prize for Biodiversity 2016. The MIDORI Prize is a biennial international prize organised by the AEON Environmental Foundation and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity to honour individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity at global, regional or local levels.
The winners of the 2016 MIDORI Prize are: Dr. Alfonso Aguirre-Muñoz, Executive Director of Grupo de Ecología y Conservación de Islas, A.C. (Mexico); Dr. Yury Darman, Director of WWF-Russia Amur Branch (Russia) ; and Dr. Vandana Shiva, Founder and Director of Navdanya (India).
Each of the prize winners is awarded a commemorative gift and plaque and a monetary prize of 100,000 US dollars to support their work. They will be honoured at an Award Ceremony to be held on 2 December 2016 in Cancún, Mexico, in conjunction with the high-level segment of the thirteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity. The prize winners will also deliver public lectures at a Winners’ Forum that will be held on 7 December 2016 at the United Nations University in Tokyo, Japan.
“The conservation of the world’s biodiversity and the prevention of climate change are two of the greatest challenges of our time,” said Mr. Takuya Okada, Chairman of the AEON Environmental Foundation. “We hope that the MIDORI Prize will contribute to meeting this global challenge through mainstreaming biodiversity and promoting further actions to safeguard biodiversity.”
“For the fourth time, the MIDORI Prize for Biodiversity has been awarded to three individuals who have contributed in outstanding ways to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and the fair and equitable sharing of its benefits,” said Mr. Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity. “I sincerely congratulate the 2016 winners for their numerous achievements and commend them for providing such positive inspiration.”
Dr. Vandana Shiva has dedicated her life to protect biodiversity, save seeds, and promote traditional organic farming methods that protect farmers’ rights. Since the mid-1990s, she has been promoting traditional knowledge and livelihoods, sustainable agriculture and biodiversity conservation, particularly in support of small communities and marginalized groups, including women, small farmers and indigenous and local communities in India. Dr. Shiva founded Navdanya, a network of seed keepers and organic producers spread across 18 states in India that provides training on sustainable agriculture and agroecological techniques. Navdanya’s farm in Uttarakhand conserves more than 2,300 varieties of paddy rice, wheat, barley, oats, mustard, millets, pulses, spices, vegetables and medicinal plants. Innovative agroecological techniques are developed and adapted to local resources and biodiversity studies in this experimental farm. In 2004, a learning center, Earth University, was also set up.
Navdanya has helped set up 122 community seed banks across the country, trained over 800,000 farmers in seed conservation, food sovereignty and sustainable agriculture, and helped set up the largest fair-trade organic network in the country.