India Biodiversity Awards 2014 Announced: Celebrating Outstanding Champions of Biodiversity in India

May 22, 2014

Port Blair - Biodiversity champions from Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Nagaland and Odisha are amongst the winners of the 2014 India Biodiversity Awards. The 2014 Awards ceremony was held today in Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands on the occasion of International Biodiversity Day. 

Announced by the Ministry of Environment and Forests and the United Nations Development Programme, the India Biodiversity Awards recognize excellence in biodiversity governance across the country.   

The winners of the 2014 Biodiversity Awards are:

  • Van Suraksha Samiti Baripada, Maharashtra (Winner; Community Stewardship)
  • Gram Sabha Payvihir, Maharashtra (Winner, Decentralized Governance)
  • Joint Forest Management Committee, Old Jalukie Village, Nagaland (Winner, Co-management)
  • Kanha Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh (Winner; Protected Area)

The Awards were presented today by Lt General A.K. Singh, the Lt Governor of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Mr. Hem Pande, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests and the UNDP Country Director, Mr Jorn Sorensen in Port Blair.

Speaking at the Awards ceremony, the Honourable Lt. Governor, Gen. A. K. Singh (Retd.) said, “We need to ensure we live in the present but care about the future”.  According to Mr. Hem Pande, Chairman of the National Biodiversity Authority said, "Management of biodiversity is an affirmative action. I salute those who have been engaged in this process, particularly in India which has huge pressure on her biological diversity. Managing biodiversity in India will always remain a challenge, and let us manage it.”

It is estimated that nearly 275 million people in India are dependent on forests for subsistence and livelihoods. This dependence is particularly acute for around half of India’s 89 million tribal people who resides in forests or on the fringe of forests. Across India people, communities, governments and conservations agencies are demonstrating ways to conserve biodiversity sustain livelihoods and secure the futures of local communities. 

Mr. Jorn Sorensen, Country Director, UNDP said, “Winners of the 2014 India Biodiversity Awards represent outstanding examples of cooperation between state and civil society in safeguarding India’s rich biodiversity heritage while ensuring a secure future for millions.” 

Prof. M.S. Swaminathan, Chairman of the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation led an eminent jury for the awards, which felicitated the seven winners and runners-up in four categories.

Runners up are:

  • Mangalajodi Ecotourism Trust, Odisha (community stewardship)
  • Whale Shark conservation efforts at Junagadh, Gujarat (co-management)  
  • Satpura Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh (Protected area)       


Note to Editors

  1. The first India Biodiversity Awards were held at the High Level Segment of the Eleventh Conference of Parties (CoP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) at Hyderabad in 2012. The winners were awarded by Smt. Jayanthi Natarajan, Hon’ble Minister of Environment and Forests, Government of India and Ms Rebecca Grynspan, Associate Administrator of UNDP, New York.

  2. The Second India Biodiversity Awards received online over 150 nominations from across the country, which were scrutinized by a technical committee and 36 nominations were long-listed under the four categories. An eminent six-member jury chaired by Prof. M.S. Swaminathan evaluated these submissions to shortlist 13 nominations for on-site visits. The jury validated on the ground the nomination’s contribution to biodiversity improvement and sustainability, benefits to local communities, and the strength of the management institution and processes. Based on due diligence, the winner and a runner-up under each category were selected by the jury.

  3. The jury members were Mr Vishwas B. Sawarkar, former Director of the Wildlife Institute of India; Ms Amarjeet Ahuja, former Joint Secretary at Ministry of Environment and Forests; Dr E. Bharucha, Director of Bharati Vidyapeeth Institute of Environment Education and Research at Pune and Chairman of the Maharashtra State Biodiversity Board; Dr Ganeshan Balachander, Director of Ashok Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE); Dr Manoj Misra, Executive Director of the PEACE Institute Charitable Trust and Convenor and Head of Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan; and Ms Jyotsna Sitling, IFS officer and CEO of the Uttarakhand Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA).

  4. The winners under each category received a cash prize of INR 1,00,000 and the runners-up received INR 50,000 each.

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