REPORT #524 September 2002

Produced by the Belize Development Trust

TIDE recognized out of over 420 organizations for its work in reducing poverty and conserving biodiversity

Johannesburg, South Africa August 30th, 2002   Just a few days ago communities spread across the equator got international recognition for their amazing work in the areas of poverty reduction and conservation of biodiversity by seeing to it that natural resources are used in a sustainable manner. At a ceremony held at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), the Equator Initiative s* distinguished jury, with the help of a team of technical experts, selected seven outstanding community initiatives for recognition with the Equator Prize 2002. These communities each received $30,000US and international praise at an awards ceremony held on 30 August 2002 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Drawn from a pool of over 420 total nominations and 27 finalists who demonstrate outstanding accomplishments, these communities continue to exhibit truly unique and exceptional work in reducing poverty and conserving biodiversity.

These communities are models of the kind of sustainable future UNDP believes is possible. They demonstrate how powerful partnerships between individuals, communities, governments and civil society can reap huge dividends for both local livelihoods and the environment, said Mark Malloch Brown, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE) was selected as one of these finalists and eventually received one in seven prizes.  TIDE s Executive Director, Wil Maheia, and Celia Mahung, member of the Board of Directors, attended the summit along with representatives from each of the 27 communities.  In accordance with the initiative s mission the representatives took part in a  "Community Kraal" at the Ubuntu Village, hosted by the Equator Initiative and other partners. The "Community Kraal" was meant to facilitate learning and dialogue between communities. 

Mr. Maheia was clearly proud of the results.  Being one of the six winners out of a total of 420 proves that TIDE is a global leader in promoting environmental sustainability.

Also representing Belize at the Summit were the Honorable John Briceno, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Mr. Carlos Fuller, Chief of Meteorology, Mr. Noel Jacobs, Project Director of the MesoAmerican Barrier Reef System, and Mr. Pat Mendoza, CEO of Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment.

About TIDE

The Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE) works in some of the poorest areas of Belize and, through the Maya Mountain Marine Sustainable Livelihoods Initiative, collaborates with local communities to promote sustainable income generation and conservation. TIDE has focused much of its poverty reduction efforts on certification programs and training, including an on-going program to train and certify flyfishing, kayaking and snorkeling guides. TIDE s scholarship program supports the education of those children whose parents work in unsustainable industries, to ensure that the next generation has sustainable options.  Through promotion of participatory co-management of natural resources and development of community monitoring, the project has also reduced poaching of endangered manatees, the practice of gillnetting, and illegal hunting and logging.  TIDE s rangers, who now ensure the protection of these resources, used to be hunters and gill net fishermen; through TIDE s work they have come to see the importance of conservation and truly stand behind the organizations mission.  The project also supports microenterprise and ecotourism training through its tourism program, TIDETours. TIDETours subcontracts with small community-based businesses to ensure income stays within local communities.
For more information on TIDE see or email [email protected]
*The Equator Initiative seeks to promote a worldwide movement to reduce poverty and conserve biodiversity through the recognition of local achievements, the fostering of South-South capacity building, and by contributing to the generation and sharing of knowledge for policy impact through publications, radio, television and the Internet.  More information can be found at


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