NEW YORK (September 29, 2010) – The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) applauds the selection of their local partner in the montane rainforests of Bolivia—the Consejo Regional Tsimané Mosetene (Tsimané Mosetene Regional Council—CRTM)—as a winner of the prestigious Equator Prize 2010, an honor bestowed on 25 local communities working to reduce poverty through sustainable development and the conservation of biodiversity.
A representative of the council—Clemente Caimany Josecita—participated in the Equator Prize 2010 award ceremony at the American Museum of Natural History on Monday, September 20th. Caimani accepted the Equator Prize for CRTM as well as a Special Recognition Prize for Applied Indigenous Knowledge, along with US $5,000 and $15,000 respectively for the honors.
The Equator Prize is sponsored by the Equator Initiative, a partnership that brings together the United Nations, governments, civil society, and grassroots organizations for the purpose of highlighting local efforts to reduce poverty through both conservation and sustainable development.
With technical support from the Wildlife Conservation Society, the CRTM council helped formulate a strategic plan for the Pilón Lajas Biosphere Reserve—one of the most biodiverse places on the planet—that incorporates management strategies for the reserve and a life plan for the reserve’s indigenous Tsimané (or Chimane) and Mosetene communities. The partnership works to preserve local traditions, improve local livelihoods, and promote education while preventing illegal land settlements, illegal logging and other unsustainable activities.
“We commend our local partners for their work in promoting local livelihoods while protecting the Pilón Lajas region’s rich natural heritage,” said Dr. Avecita Chicchón, Director for the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Latin America and the Caribbean Program. “We are all the beneficiaries of their success.”
The Pilón Lajas Biosphere Reserve was created in 1992 for the purpose of conserving biodiversity and improving the living conditions of the resident communities. Its wildlife includes species such as the spectacled bear, jaguar, and 332 species of birds. Pilón Lajas is part of a protected region (including the adjacent Madidi and Apolobamba protected areas) that contains the largest swath of montane rainforests in the tropical Andes, considered the most biodiverse landscape on Earth.
The participation of the Tsimané and Mosetene communities in the management of the Pilón Lajas Biosphere Reserve began with the establishment of the reserve in 1977. The territorial rights of both indigenous groups were officially recognized in 1992. With the assistance of experts from WCS, CRTM established a common territorial zoning plan along with a set of objectives and benchmarks to gauge effectiveness.
So far, the efforts of the CRTM have resulted in:
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