U.N. Launches SEED Awards

U.N. Launches SEED Awards

The United Nations Environment Program has launched a new global award to recognize new strategies for the sustainable use of the world's natural resources.

The SEED awards (Supporting Entrepreneurs in Environment and Development) aim to honor innovative partnership proposals. Winners will receive support in developing business plans, seeking funding and setting up partnerships, the UNEP reported.

"We are not trying to set up an international standard for ideal partnerships, but rather to honor, support, and promote the entrepreneurial spirit of those working in partnerships that contribute to the achievement of the UN's Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the World Summit for Sustainable Sustainable Development's Plan of Implementation," UNEP executive director Klaus Toepfor said.

The MDGs are a set of time-bound, measurable targets that world leaders agreed to in 2000 at a UN summit that aim to halve poverty, bring educational parity to both boys and girls, and cut the rate of HIV/AIDS transmissions by 2015.

Offering examples of these joint ventures, the agency cited a network of women slum dwellers in India collaborating with engineers from the U.K. and a French water company to improve water delivery in their communities.

In adition, they cited a project in Ecuador, where a consortium of European companies is working with the government and coffee farmers to ensure that pesticides do not contaminate water supplies, while in South Africa, a small business owner is working with women's cooperatives and the government to market test solar technologies in rural areas.

The SEED awards, launched in parallel sessions at the World Social Forum in Mumbai and the World Economic Forum in Davos, will be presented every two years.