The Katerva Awards are given annually to excellent sustainability ideas and initiatives in 10 categories. Finalists are announced in September each year. A single winner in each category will be selected by a panel of experts in that category and announced in October each year. A grand prize winner will be selected among category winners and announced as the best new sustainability effort of the year.
Space is one very finite resource our planet has to offer. Efforts must be made to create sustainable systems by which important environments are replaced at the same rate or faster than they are used. This category covers programs to protect and regenerate forests, oceans, and other limited environments as well as initiatives to create sustainable land use processes.
There will not be a Protected Areas winner this year. We commend the following finalists for great work within their category. Our global panel of experts have decided that these finalists do not currently stand up to the rigorous criteria set forth to identify those with the potential to affect sustainability at the global level.
Clean the Ganges, finalist
The Ganges River is India’s largest river, and is considered one of its most sacred by the Hindus, but now ranks among the five most polluted rivers in the world. The Clean the Ganges Project, a consortium led by the Government of India, is making an unprecedented effort to clean the Ganges up. The Clean the Ganges Project, also known as the National Ganga River Basin Project, is the largest endeavor that has ever been undertaken to clean up the Ganges. The project has been financed by the World Bank and will include technical support from seven Indian Institutes of Technology administrative, oversight by the Government of India, and implementation by state and central governments. As testimony to the magnitude of the project, the World Bank has committed 1 billion USD: the largest contribution by the international financial institution to a single project. Shortcomings of past Ganges clean-up efforts have revealed that only through involving multiple sectors and empowering institutions to plan, implement and enforce project work will pollution clean-up succeed. The Clean the Ganges Project consortium includes agencies that have been given significant power to develop and enforce clean-up plans.
Ecuador Yasuni Rainforest Conservation, finalist
Putting social and environmental values before profit, the Ecuadorian government set up the Yasuni Ishpingo Tambococha Tiputini (ITT) Trust Fund to protect one of the world’s most valuable and diverse biological reserves by promising to keep oil permanently underground. In an unprecedented move, the Ecuadorian government has agreed to prevent 846 million barrels of oil from being extracted from the Ishpingo Tambococha Tiputini (ITT) oil field located in Yasuni National Park. In doing so, the government will avoid emitting 407 metric tons of CO2, protect one of the most bio-diverse reserves in the world and maintain the livelihoods of the region’s indigenous population. With 60% of Ecuador’s GNP currently based on its oil economy, this unique initiative can significantly steer Ecuador’s economy away from oil dependency towards more productive and sustainable economic activities.
Nature Conservancy Improved Fisheries, finalist
In Port Clyde, Maine, the Nature Conservancy is working with fishing communities to test nets with holes of different shapes and sizes in order to better manage catches and restore the health of fish populations. The problems associated with fishing nets catching untargeted species along with the target species were brought to light in the dolphin-safe tuna campaigns. The Improved Fishnet project being implemented by The Nature Conservancy and Maine fishermen also deals with eliminating the “bycatch” of unmarketable fish. The right combination of net hole shape and size can trap the desirable fish while letting the smaller fish swim free. With only desirable fish caught in the nets, the time the fisher spends sorting fish is reduced. Without so many fish in the nets, there is less damage to the marketable fish, allowing fishers to sell at higher prices. Perhaps even more importantly, the global market for sustainably caught fish products is steadily growing.
Rwanda Forest Conservation, finalist
The leaders of war-torn Rwanda plan on taking a bold step to rebuild their country by restoring its natural support systems. For the first time, an entire country is committing to restoring its natural base as a step towards improved social and economic well-being. Rwanda’s country-wide restoration plan, titled the “Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative,” is to restore Rwanda’s land, soil, water, forests and unique biodiversity, to clearly and dramatically improve rural incomes, sustainable food productivity, water and energy supply, and low carbon economic development – all by 2035. Planning and implementation will take place through the work of a partnership between the Rwandan government, the International Union for conservation of Nature (IUCN), the United Nations Forum on Forests, and the Global Partnership for Forest Landscape Restoration. The planned projects combine a range of innovative elements such as ecosystem-based adaptation to climate change and public-private partnerships.
Sustainability is not just an idea for the women of Yorkin, Costa Rica. It is a guiding principle they have chosen for ensuring the well being of their families and community. Stibrawpa is an organization of women working towards improving the lives of their families, protecting natural resources, and strengthening indigenous culture. Through years of hard work the women have developed an economy based on cultural ecotourism in the Yorkin River watershed, Costa Rica. Stibrawpa means “Women who make Handcrafts” in native BriBri language. The society Stibrawpa has a Board of Directors made up entirely of women, but their efforts benefit their entire community. Stibrawpa has effectively saved the community’s men from working in the chemical laden banana plantations through its economic initiatives, including producing organic cocoa and other products, and has developed a thriving tourist lodge. In 2008, the organization hosted a total of 600 day and overnight visitors at the ecotourism lodge in their village.