Muscat – The 2021 Unesco Sultan Qaboos Prize for Environmental Conservation has been awarded to Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) and University for International Cooperation (UIC), Costa Rica, following recommendations of the international jury of the prize.
The award ceremony was held at the Unesco headquarters in Paris, France, on November 17 as part of the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme during the 41st General Conference of Unesco.
H E Dr Madiha Ahmed al Shaibani, Minister of Education, while giving away the award affirmed that Oman is committed to its pledge to protect the environment and preserve its resources. For this purpose, Oman adopts a comprehensive policy that ensures placing the environment on top of priorities of development plans.
Awarded every other year since 1991, the Unesco Sultan Qaboos Prize for Environmental Conservation was established through a generous donation by the late Sultan Qaboos bin Said. Winners are awarded US$50,000 each, a diploma and a medal.
FRIM has been awarded in recognition of initiatives to monitor and preserve endangered species of national interest, producing publications such as the Malaysian Plant Red List in efforts to monitor the conservation of critically endangered species, and documenting the traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples and local communities.
FRIM is one of the leading institutions in tropical forest research in the world. It has conducted significant research activities on biodiversity, forest ecosystems management and restoration, and sustainable forest products, while contributing significantly to biodiversity conservation at the national level.
FRIM also contributes to the inclusion of environmental education in curricula and training teachers in Education for Sustainable Development.
UIC has been recognised for its support to create new biosphere reserves in Latin America such as Sumaco (Ecuador), Cabo de Hornos (Chile) and Aguay Paz (Costa Rica) and the promotion of regenerative practices in the biosphere reserves.
UIC’s main areas of action are the conservation of biodiversity, territorial management, local development, food safety from farm to table, regenerative agriculture and livestock, sustainable tourism and project management using a transversal ecosystem regeneration approach. Through its Latin American School of Protected Areas, UIC has contributed to capacity building across Latin America and the Caribbean to train protected area managers.
It is also contributing to reverse effects of climate change and biodiversity loss on ecosystems thr- ough its initiatives in the Regenerative Communities Network.
The jury also recognised both institutions’ stellar public outreach and awareness initiatives, such as outdoor activities for students and development of community farms and eco-tourism.