The 12 finalists of the first biennial Seed Awards were announced tonight at a reception at the 3rd IUCN World Conservation Congress in Bangkok.

The 12 finalists of the first biennial Seed Awards were announced tonight at a reception at the 3rd IUCN World Conservation Congress in Bangkok. The finalist partnerships were chosen for their outstanding potential to spur economic growth, promote social evelopment and foster environmental stewardship at the local level.

The partnerships tackle a range of economic, environmental and social issues from malnutrition to water provision, conservation of medicinal plants to fishing stock depletion and are spread across the globe. What they have in common is their innovative and entrepreneurial approach -- addressing challenges while creating jobs and improving livelihoods.

IUCN Director General Achim Steiner, speaking at a joint World Bank/IUCN reception, introduced the 12 finalist partnerships to an audience of several hundred, including representatives from grassroots organizations,the private sector and government ministers.  Mr. Steiner stressed that "conservation cannot succeed if pursued in isolation - it must go hand in hand with economic and social development. These outstanding Seed finalists demonstrate how partnerships can contribute to this integration."

The Seed Awards are an international competition to find promising nascent entrepreneurial partnerships. The inaugural Seed finalists were selected from a pool of over 260 entries from 66 countries and represent 1,200 organizations. They were chosen for their potential to advance sustainable development in their communities and contribute to international development goals. Finalists will receive individually-targeted support services designed to give their partnership every chance of success. As the first stage of this support, the finalists are currently engaged in a series of workshops and meetings at the Congress to build their capacities and broaden their networks. From the 12 finalists, five Seed Award winners will be selected early next year and announced during the 13th Session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development in April 2004.

UNEP Executive Director, Dr. Klaus Toepfer, commented:  "The 12 finalists and the hundreds of submissions to the Seed Awards only scratch the surface of the tremendous potential of entrepreneurial partnerships to contribute to sustainable development and the Millennium Development Goals. The 1,200 organizations involved in the award submissions demonstrate the diversity of local level entrepreneurs that are eager to pool their energies,knowledge and resources."

The Awards are only one aspect of the Seed Initiative's efforts to support environment and development entrepreneurship. The Seed partnership is composed of IUCN/The World Conservation Union, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) along with Partnerships Central and the Global Public Policy Institute. The Initiative works closely with and is supported by the Governments of Germany, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States.

A brief description of each of the finalist partnerships is available at

Further information about Seed can be found on the Seed website:

Seed Award Finalists 2004/2005


Allanblackia Seed, Nigeria
Improving livelihoods and fighting the loss of tropical forests by
establishing a new plant oil industry using a novel non-timber forest
product -- the Allanblackia seed. Potential for expansion across the
region,wherever the Allanblackia is indigenous.

Cows to Kilowatts, Nigeria
Installing a biogas plant to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, produce
affordable cooking gas and address waste management and water pollution caused by one of Nigeria's largest slaughterhouses. Potential for replication across Africa.

Joint Initiative for a Cleaner Mohammedia, Morocco
Building an environmental technology centre to reduce pollution levels in the city of Mohammedia, home to the country's largest refinery, and assist local enterprises in the acquisition of upgraded technology. The aim is to franchise the model across the world.

Madagascar's First Experimental Community-run Marine Protected Area,
Madagascar A partnership to demonstrate the economic, conservation and fisheries benefits of Madagascar's first community-run Marine Protected Area as a possible prototype for future MPAs around the world.

Vitango -- Vitamin A from Mangoes, Kenya
Reducing vitamin A deficiency and generate income by increasing production and solar drying of mangoes, improved marketing mechanisms and agroforestry education in schools and communities.


Creating New Markets for Biologically Diverse, High-Yielding Indigenous
Rice, Cambodia, Madagascar & Sri Lanka

A programme to market indigenous varieties of rice to improve incomes,
conserve rice biodiversity and promote human and environmental health. Tremendous potential to spread across multiple rice-growing regions.

Environmental Certification Programme for Lead Battery Manufacturing, India

Establishing an environmental audit and certification programme for lead
battery manufacturing facilities to reduce lead poisoning and encourage the adoption of voluntary emission standards.

Harvesting Seabuckthorn at the Top of the World, Nepal
Sustainable harvesting of wild seabuckthorn (highly nutritious and
versatile berry), creation of seabuckthorn nurseries, and expansion of
markets to safeguard knowledge of medicinal plants and biodiversity of

Integrated Mangrove Restoration and Sustainable Shrimp Aquaculture,
Establishing sustainable shrimp aquaculture to benefit local communities
while protecting and restoring mangrove swamps.


Agua Para Todos/Water for all, Bolivia
A novel partnership model fully engaging the local population to provide
access to low-cost potable water in peri-urban areas which could be
replicated in similar circumstances worldwide.

The Maya Nut Programme, Nicaragua & Guatemala
Increasing knowledge, production, sales and consumption of the highly
nutritious Maya Nut to improve nutrition, food security and family health. Potential to spread across Central America.

Rising in the East, Jamaica
A training programme for unemployed rural youth that teaches techniques of sustainable organic farming and promotes small enterprise development, that could be replicated throughout Jamaica and the wider Caribbean.

What is the Seed Initiative?

The Supporting Entrepreneurs for Environment and Development (Seed)
Initiative aims to inspire, support and build the capacity of locally-driven entrepreneurial partnerships to contribute to the
delivery of the Millennium Development Goals and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation.

The Initiative focuses on "business as unusual" -- innovative action
delivering real solutions through project cooperation among small and large businesses, local and international NGOs, women's
groups, labour organizations, public authorities and UN agencies, and
others working in the field of sustainable development.

The Seed Initiative comprises three integrated and complementary elements:

-- The Seed Awards is an international award scheme for new partnership ideas to generate exposure and publicity for the partnership approach and provide inspiration for entrepreneurial activity;
-- The Seed Partnership Support channel provides intensive partnership
support and mentoring for Seed Award-winning partnerships and develops tools and services for all partnerships;
-- The Seed Research and Learning Channel captures the experiences of the awardees through detailed case studies and creates learning tools from these to benefit all partnership practitioners; it will also draw out recommendations for policy-makers on creating an enabling environment to encourage entrepreneurship and new partnerships.

The Seed Awards
Submissions for the first round of the Seed awards closed on August 15th and triggered a groundswell of response. The Seed Secretariat received over 260 entries from 66 countries,involving a total of 1,200 organizations in response to the initiative's call for proposals. In addition to being geographically diverse, the proposals were spread across the entire range of development issues and included every type of stakeholder, from local businesses to multinational companies,
public authorities to local women's groups, international and national NGOs to regional cooperatives.

Crucially, the vast majority of these projects will be implemented locally. Almost all projects involve NGOs or community-based organizations and 60% cooperate with small and medium sized
enterprises. Many of the projects also include an international link with
7% of the submissions involving transnational companies and 14% including international agencies.

The focus of most partnerships (over 90%) lies in developing countries. Yet the thematic issues they address are very diverse. Two-thirds water, energy and climate change,health, agriculture and
biodiversity (also referred to as the "WEHAB" issues), of which half have a special emphasis on agriculture. The remaining third show a wealth of creativity in developing solutions in areas as diverse
as eco-tourism, recycling and cleaner production, and the empowerment of women. The sheer number and inventiveness of proposals reveals the tremendous potential entrepreneurial partnerships
have to contribute to sustainable development, particularly in developing countries. The Seed Initiative is designed to help realize the potential of this new wave of cooperative action by nurturing
the entrepreneurial and partnership spirit.

For more information, please contact the Seed Inititiave Secretariat at tel: +44-1865-202-669, fax: +44 870 1319582, e-mail:

This press release was not reviewed by HORIZON's Scientific Review Board.

Latest articles


Air Pollution



Endangered Species




Global Climate Change

Global Health


Natural Disaster Relief

News and Special Reports

Oceans, Coral Reefs



Public Health



Toxic Chemicals


Waste Management


Water and Sanitation

Yale Himalaya Initiative