Loru Rainforest Carbon Project wins prestigious United Nations Equator Award.
A family business on a remote island in Vanuatu has made history by receiving one of the United Nation’s most prestigious awards for their efforts towards ecosystem protection and climate resilience. The business, Ser-Thiac, manages the Loru Forest Carbon Project, the first indigenous-owned certified forest carbon project in the Pacific Islands.
The Loru Project is a flagship project of the Nakau Programme. Nakau assists landowners to conserve forests and sell carbon offsets instead of selling timber. The initiative delivers community economic development while reducing poverty and vulnerability to climate change.
The Loru project has reduced approximately 15,000 tons of CO2 emissions to date and offers a powerful new model for forest carbon projects based on indigenous land rights and stewardship.
“We are so pleased to have this recognition,” says Ser-Thiac family member Serge Warakar, whose land is within the Loru Community Conservation Area, “We have worked for many years to secure and regenerate our forest. The Loru Project has allowed us to earn income while protecting our forest. We have used this income for local employment, investing in agroforestry, paying school fees and to secure our water supply.”
UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner said, “Every day, thousands of local communities and indigenous peoples around the world are implementing innovative nature-based solutions to mitigate and adapt to climate change. The Equator Prize is both a recognition of their exceptional ideas and a way to showcase the power of people and grassroots communities to bring about real change.”
Ser-Thiac was one of 20 winners chosen from over 847 nominations across the globe. The four-stage selection process highlighted community-based approaches that can be replicated and scaled to address our climate crisis. Representatives of Ser-Thiac will travel to New York in September to receive their award.
“By investing the Loru Project, the private sector has shown a desire to support projects that reduce emissions and provide benefits to indigenous communities, states Anjali Nelson, Nakau Programme Co-Founder. “Ser-Thiac are leading in this area and provide inspiration that other communities can follow.”
Ser-Thiac has hosted representatives of other Pacific Island countries who are looking to learn from the Loru Project. The Nakau Programme currently has similar projects underway in Fiji and the Solomon Islands.
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