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Equator Initiative Case Study – Rufiji Environment Management Project

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Between 1998 and 2003, this IUCN-led intervention in the Rufiji Delta area of Tanzania worked through the Rufiji District Council to develop village environment management plans in consultation with local communities. The project oversaw the effective transfer of resource management authority from the central government to four pilot villages comprising communities in the floodplain and delta areas affected by the flooding of the river downstream of the Selous Game Reserve.
Land-use maps were collaboratively produced by teams of researchers, government officials, and the communities themselves using a combination of modern and traditional means; these maps then formed the basis of participatory land use planning at the village level, focusing on empowering women as prime resource users. The enduring impact of the project has been closer cooperation between communities and local government in preserving the region’s delicate socio-ecological balance. The Equator Initiative brings together the United Nations, governments, civil society, businesses and grassroots organizations to recognize and advance local sustainable development solutions for people, nature and resilient communities. As local and indigenous groups across the world chart a path towards sustainable development, the Equator Prize--issued biennially by the Equator Initiative--shines a spotlight on their efforts by honoring them on an international stage. This project was awarded the Equator Prize in recognition of its contribution to local sustainable development solutions.

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