Nominations reopen for Wangari Maathai Forest Champions Award

22 Sep 2021

Rome, 22 September, 2021 – The Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) has reopened its call for nominations for the Wangari Maathai Forest Champions Award, an honour granted to an individual who has made extraordinary efforts to improve the world’s forests and the lives of the people who depend on them.

This second round of nominations has opened after the XV World Forestry Congress, where the award winner will be announced, was postponed until 2022. All entries received during the first call for nominations remain valid.

A panel of renowned forestry experts will decide the winner of the award based on his/her outstanding contribution to conserve, restore and sustainably manage forests, and to raise awareness of the key role forests play in supporting local communities and rural livelihoods.

The panel will also consider nominees’ efforts in empowering women, youth and civil society, fostering social commitment, promoting networks and improving the visibility and socio-cultural value of forests.

“We are living in a time when our planet is signaling a ‘code red for humanity’, with multiple crises in climate, biodiversity and health.,” said CPF Chair Mette Wilkie. “The world’s forests have a critical role to play in the solutions to these crises if we manage them sustainably. Now more than ever, we need forest champions to inspire us and lead the way to a greener, more sustainable and resilient future.”

The winner will be honoured for his/her outstanding achievements at the upcoming XV World Forestry Congress (2–6 May 2022, Seoul, Republic of Korea). Along with international recognition and prestige, the winner receives a cash prize of USD 20 000 and travel support to participate in the award ceremony.

Legacy of Wangari Maathai

The CPF launched the first Wangari Maathai Award in 2012 to honour and commemorate the impact of the late Kenyan environmentalist, who championed forest issues across the globe. Maathai was the first African woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace in 2004.

Her Green Belt Movement is an environmental organization that empowers communities, and particularly women, to conserve the environment and improve livelihoods. The movement has also planted over 51 million trees in Kenya. This spirit is revived through the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030, which was launched this year with a rallying call for the protection and revival of ecosystems all around the world, for the benefit of people and nature.

Previous Wangari Maathai Forest Champion Award winners are Nepalese community forestry movement leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha (2012), Mexican environmental campaigner Martha Isabel ‘Pati’ Ruiz Corzo (2014), Ugandan forestry activist Gertrude Kabusimbi Kenyangi (2015), Brazilian forestry activist Maria Margarida Ribeiro da Silva (2017), and Burundian forestry activist Léonidas Nzigiyimpa (2019).

The Collaborative Partnership on Forests, which is chaired by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), is comprised of 15 international organizations working together to promote sustainable management of all types of forests and strengthen long-term political commitment to this end.

More information on the Wangari Maathai Forest Champion Award and guidelines for nominations are available in English, French and Spanish.

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