UN environment agency announces 10 global finalists for development awards

Entrepreneurs promoting a range of businesses – from community-based tourism in Brazil to Vietnamese bringing medicinal plants to the international market – are among 10 finalists announced today by the head of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for a key sustainable development award.The nominees are up for one of five Supporting Entrepreneurs for Environment and Development (Seed) Awards, an incentive scheme for local entrepreneurs to promote economic growth, social development and environmental protection will be announced at May’s session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development in New York, UNEP said in a press release. The announcement of the 10 finalists was made both in Switzerland at the World Economic Forum and also at the World Social Forum being held in Nairobi, Kenya. An international expert jury will now identify the five winning partnerships from among the finalists.“As we meet in Davos and Nairobi to discuss scaling up sustainable solutions, the Seed Initiative is again offering inspiring examples of local level entrepreneurs in all parts of the world who are setting up new partnerships and using ‘global/local’ networks to address sustainable development challenges with a business-case approach,” said UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.Finalists for the Seed Awards 2007 take a range of promising, locally-adapted approaches to sustainability, including the promotion of traditional medicine and community-based tourism and the production of alternative fuels. The countries represented by finalist initiatives are Brazil, Ecuador, India, Nepal, Kenya, Peru, Sierra Leone, Suriname, the United Republic of Tanzania and Viet Nam.The entry from Brazil aims to improve local communities’ livelihoods and promote environmental protection through the creation of community-based tourism, while that from Viet Nam involves a local business network, marketing high value-added products derived from the sustainable cultivation of traditional medicinal plants.The announcement of the 2007 finalists follows a rigorous 10-month selection process that drew together more than 230 applications from more than 70 countries worldwide – representing close to 1,100 organizations from the private sector, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), women’s groups, labour, public authorities, UN agencies and others.Partners in the Seed Initiative include the World Conservation Union (IUCN); the UN Development Programme (UNDP); the Governments of the United States, Germany, the Netherlands, South Africa and the United Kingdom; and private sector partner Swiss Re. 25 January 2007Entrepreneurs promoting a range of businesses – from community-based tourism in Brazil to Vietnamese bringing medicinal plants to the international market – are among 10 finalists announced today by the head of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for a key sustainable development award. read more