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  • Indigenous children from the Ashaninka Aldeia Apiwtxa in Brazil, one of the award recipents.

    Indigenous children from the Ashaninka Aldeia Apiwtxa in Brazil, one of the award recipents. | Photo: Brazilian Ministry of Culture, WikiCommons

The UN Development Programme is honoring activists from Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, Brazil, Mali, Kenya, Indonesia, Thailand among others.

Indigenous activists from across the globe will receive the Equator Prize at a ceremony in New York on Sunday.

The international award recognizes exceptional local solutions for people, nature and resilient communities.

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The Prize focuses “on local and indigenous groups in rural areas that have developed innovative solutions to protecting, restoring or sustainably managing nature to achieve local sustainable development,” according to the United Nations.

For this year's honors, the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, is rewarding activists from Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, Brazil, Mali, Kenya, Indonesia, Thailand, Kazakhstan, India and Pakistan.

They include the Federation of the Pech Tribes of Honduras, or FETRIPH, and the International Reforestation Aliiance, or AIRES Guatemala.

FETRIPH President Adalid Tome told Prensa Latina that the prize is a recognition of the ancestral indigenous practices needed for a harmonious cohabitation with the environment, especially the forest.

FETRIPH helps 10 indigenous tribes living in the northeast of Guatemala to manage their territories with more autonomy.

As for AIRES, the foundation has been able to seed over five million trees as a contribution to reforestation and a bid to save the environment.

“Our goal is to reach a more sustainable use of the forests because they are crucial for the life of native peoples — they represent the majority of Guatemala's population and suffer from poverty,” said Cecilia Ramirez, AIRE's Secretary-General.

Also included is Brazil's Association Ashaninka do Rio Amonia Apiwtxa. In order to protect their 87,205-hectare territory Terra Kampa do Rio Amônia from deforestation and to defend Ashaninka rights and culture, they are using participatory 3D mapping to demarcate and support community-based management of Indigenous lands.

The group has also set up an educational center to promotes sustainable agroforestry practices with Ashaninka communities in Brazil and Peru as well as other Indigenous and non-Indigenous groups and educational centers. The school places cultural exchange and social inclusion at the heart of environmental education, while leading restoration activities, and selling handicrafts and non-timber forest products through a cooperative. 

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