After reviewing applications from around the world, the inaugural 2003 Roy Family Award will be presented to the Noel Kempff Mercado Climate Action Project in Bolivia. The project partners are American Electric Power (AEP), the oil and gas company BP, the Government of Bolivia, Fundación Amigos de la Naturaleza (FAN), PacifiCorp, and The Nature Conservancy.
The Roy Family Award, established to recognize an outstanding effort by public and private sector organizations working together to protect the environment or preserve uniquely valuable natural resources, is being presented today (April 3) by the Kennedy School of Government.
“The Nature Conservancy is honored to be part of the partnership that received such a prestigious award from Harvard University,” said Steve McCormick, the Conservancy’s president. “Seven years ago when the conservancy brought together all of these dedicated partners, we were confident we could truly make a difference. Today, this partnership is proving that a well-designed forest conservation and management project can benefit the environment and local communities.”
The Noel Kempff Mercado Climate Action Project, one of the largest carbon sequestration projects in the world, reduces emissions of greenhouse gases by preventing deforestation from logging and other land uses. The project is both a global model for an innovative approach to climate protection, and more significantly, a prime example of how governments, nongovernmental organizations, and private companies can cooperate to promote sustainable development with lasting benefits for local communities as well as our global environment.
“The Noel Kempff Climate Action Project is a public and private partnership to prove that forest carbon sequestration is a cost-effective greenhouse gas mitigation option that should be included in the broad response to global climate change, said E. Linn Draper, AEP’s chairman, president, and CEO. “This project has protected an enormously rich and biologically diverse area from deforestation, while also fostering sustainable development of the local communities. In the process, we have developed cutting-edge technologies for accurately monitoring and verifying the carbon absorbed by the forest ecosystem. We hope that our collaboration guides and inspires organizations interested in undertaking similar initiatives and helps inform the policy debate on this important issue.”
With an initial investment of $9.6 million in 1997, the project partners purchased and retired the logging rights on 2 million acres of forestland adjacent to one of the most biologically diverse areas in the world – Bolivia’s Noel Kempff Mercado National Park. This purchase effectively doubled the park’s size. In addition, an endowment fund was established to ensure that this unique resource will be protected and well-managed in perpetuity. The project aims to prevent the emission of 7 million tons of carbon during its 30 years.
Demonstrating the viability of terrestrial carbon sequestration was only one of the projects many benefits. The partners paid particular attention to ensuring sustainable economic development opportunities and providing important ancillary benefits to the local community. These efforts include helping to improve the quality of life in the local communities by introducing alternative options for sustainable livelihoods and improving the management of natural resources. The project partners also allocated resources to the five communities on the edge of the park. Funding supports revolving loan funds for micro-enterprises, health care and education programs, improvements in the water and transportation infrastructure, and legal assistance to indigenous people seeking land title.
The Roy Family Award will be presented to the partners of the Noel Kempff Mercado Climate Action Project at a ceremony today (April 3) at 6 p.m. in the Taubman Building, Rooms ABC.
E. Linn Draper, chairman, CEO, and president of American Electric Power, will deliver the keynote address – ‘Pushing the Frontiers of Environmental Conservation: Public-Private Partnerships for Sustainable Development.’
A panel discussion will follow the address.