Pathfinder Award 2021 winners announced: IUCN and UNDP recognise innovation in nature conservation

Pathfinder Award

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On 15 November 2021, the online ceremony of the Pathfinder Award felicitated four winners from China, India, Madagascar, and Tanzania. This award recognises and celebrates their innovative, integrated approaches to protected and conserved area management that successfully conserve nature while making development gains related to human health, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and sustainable land management.

Presented by IUCN and UNDP, the Pathfinder Award promotes solutions that demonstrate how well-protected biodiversity and well-managed ecosystems help address societal challenges and thereby achieve development benefits.




In an online ceremony hosted by IUCN and UNDP, members of the conservation community from around the world gathered to felicitate the winners of the Pathfinder Award 2021, for their contributions to innovation in nature conservation.

IUCN Director General, Dr Bruno Oberle, in his opening remarks, highlighted the diversity of nominees and the work of the PANORAMA Solutions for a Healthy Planet initiative,

"IUCN is proud to be a founding partner of PANORAMA, which is an excellent example of how IUCN delivers on its mission of making conservation knowledge available and connecting people to improve policy and practice.

From the steppes of Inner Mongolia to mangrove forests of Madagascar, from the Griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus) of Israel to the Giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) of China, the solutions we received represent many innovative, inspiring approaches in nature conservation."

Out of over 400 nominations, four awards of USD 10,000 each were bestowed to the following winners across the following categories:

Achim Steiner, Administrator of the UNDP, highlighted the importance of such a solutions-oriented approach to tackling the climate and biodiversity crises, saying,

"COP26 and CBD COP15 are providing countries and communities with new energy and impetus to protect and restore our natural world, as we aim for the global goals. Many of the solutions that we urgently need are already being pioneered by indigenous peoples and local communities. In that respect, the Pathfinder Award continues  to play a key role in spotlighting innovative, inspiring, and sometimes surprising solutions that can be adapted and scaled up in other parts of the world."

Congratulations to all of this year's nominees and winners for their inspiring and innovative work. To learn more about these and other solutions from around the world, visit the PANORAMA Solutions website, now with over 1000 solutions featured.

Did you miss the ceremony? Check out the recording below!

The Pathfinder Award is jointly organised by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Further partners of the 2021 edition are BIOFIN, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP), the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) as well as the Tech4Nature initiative.

This award is part of PANORAMA – Solutions for a Healthy Planet initiative, a global learning and knowledge partnership initiative which identifies and promotes examples of replicable solutions and enables their wider application through offering cross-sectoral global exchange opportunities, thus facilitating learning from successful practice in biodiversity conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.

PANORAMA is a joint initiative of IUCN, the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Environment Programme, GRID-Arendal, Rare, IFOAM Organics International, the World Bank Group, ICOMOS and ICCROM with support from the German Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMU), the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment and the Global Environment Facility.