Following receipt of over 400 entries from around the world, three finalists have been chosen for this year’s prestigious St Andrews Prize for the Environment. The winner will receive $100,000 USD and the two runners-up will each receive $25,000 USD.
The Prize is a joint environmental initiative by the University of St Andrews in Scotland and independent exploration and production company ConocoPhillips, which aims to find practical solutions to biodiversity and environmental challenges from around the globe.
Lord Alec Broers, Chairman of the St Andrews Prize for the Environment Trustees says: ‘The Prize rewards those who propose novel ways to preserve the environment and biodiversity. The ideas may be global or local, but if local should have the potential for broader application, and to make sure that they are practical and realistic the prize winners should understand the social and economic factors influencing the communities in which they are to be used. It is important that the prize money makes a significant difference to the success of the project. Clean and efficient energy sources for small communities have been rewarded as have means of purifying water, cleaner sanitation and projects that preserve endangered species. A significant benefit to the winners is that they gain access to the expertise of the St Andrews Prize team and of past winners. This can help immensely in ensuring the success of their projects.’
The finalists’ presentations will be heard at a seminar at St Andrews University and the winner will be announced at a ceremony on Thursday, 23 April 2015.
This year’s finalists are:
Chimpanzee Conservation in Guinea, West Africa
This multi-level conservation project aims to protect the largest remaining population of wild chimpanzees in West Africa, which were discovered in the Foutah Djallon-Bafing River (FDBR) region of Guinea.
Great apes, especially Western African chimpanzees are severely threatened throughout Africa. The confirmation of a 4,700 strong population of chimpanzees in Guinea represents a unique opportunity to contribute to the survival of this largest-known and non-fragmented chimpanzee population in West Africa.
Threatened by agriculture, logging and poaching, an integrated landscape conservation project was initiated with the full support and collaboration of the Guinea Ministry of the Environment. The aim is to preserve the chimpanzees and their habitat through a participatory process including local populations and Guinean State services in an area of roughly 8,000 square kilometres of semi mountainous, moderately anthropised and relatively well preserved landscapes.
Net-Works: From Fishing Nets to Carpet Tiles, the Philippines
Net-Works inclusive business model is designed to tackle the growing environmental problem of discarded fishing nets in some of the world’s poorest communities and fragile ecosystems, through a replicable community-based supply chain, which provides carpet tiles from the nets. The cross sector initiative combines the expertise of global conservation charity ZSL and the world’s leading carpet tile manufacturer, Interface Inc.
Approximately 640,000 tonnes of fishing gear is discarded into the oceans each year where it continues to snare marine life. When nets are dumped on beaches, especially in developing countries where there is a lack of waste management infrastructure, they take centuries to degrade.
To address this situation, Net-Works has been proactively encouraging community members to collect nets from the environment and direct from fishers at end of their life to sell them into the supply chain for manufacture into carpet tiles. The income being earned from the nets is used to cover the operating costs of the model, ensuring that it is sustainable and long-lasting.
The RIPPLE Effect – Integrated Conservation in Malawi
The RIPPLE Effect is an integrated approach to environmental issues faced by approximately 250,000 people living in Northern Malawi. The project comprises conservation of forested areas, introduction of fuel-efficient cook-stoves supplemented by tree planting, and conservation of fish stocks in Lake Malawi.
Most of the country’s deforestation is happening at household level due to the clearing of land for subsistence farming and the reliance on wood for cooking. This project is working with the forestry department to introduce new local by-laws protecting remaining forests. Over 90% of Malawians use large amounts of wood for cooking and the project has worked with the local community to develop a fuel-efficient cook-stove reducing the amount of firewood used and making cooking safer and healthier. In addition, Lake Malawi is suffering from over fishing therefore the project has introduced a closed season to allow fish time to breed and grow. Permits are also issued prohibiting migratory fishermen and controlling net length and mesh size.
This project ethos empowers communities to achieve a sustainable future by providing a ‘hand-up’ not a ‘hand-out’ and supporting them in finding their own innovative and sustainable solutions to the problems they identify.