In what is considered a great milestone, Mikoko Pamoja initiative has been selected as a winner of the prestigious Equator Prize 2017. Announcing on the 29th June 2017, the Equator Initiative of the United Nations has listed Mikoko Pamoja alongside other 14 winners of the global prize out of 806 contestants from 120 countries (http://www.revamping.equatorinitiative.org/2017/06/27/ep-2017-meet-the-winners/). As a winner, the project is expected to take home $10,000 to be awarded in a colourful ceremony on the 17th September 2017 in New York. This awarding ceremony is scheduled to coincide with the 72nd United Nations General Assembly and will be graced by top global leaders.
Mikoko Pamoja, which is the first community-based blue carbon initiative in the world, directly benefits Gazi Bay community from sale of mangrove carbon credits. This initiative’s aim is to provide long-term incentives to promote the conservation and management of mangroves. Mikoko Pamoja is accredited by Plan Vivo standards and systems to sell 3000 t CO2 to the voluntary market for a crediting period of 20 years. For the last 4 years, the initiative has successfully financed community development projects in water and sanitation, education and mangrove restoration.
Mikoko Pamoja’s global recognition as one of the Equator Prize winners is attributed to unprecedented willingness and support from Gazi Bay community and project partners towards promoting mangrove ecosystem services. The initiative is a culmination of long-term mangrove research spearheaded by Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI) together with universities of Bangor and Edinburgh Napier (UK), Earthwatch Institute, Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and World Wide Fund (WWF).
Mikoko Pamoja hopes to capitalize on this unique recognition to advance and promote mangrove Payment for Environmental Services across the world. It is expected that this opportunity under Equator initiative will further broaden the horizons for Mikoko Pamoja initiative to reach out to a wider voluntary carbon market both locally and internationally and share their success story. According to UNDP the winners clearly demonstrate actions at the local level, which are essential to achieve sustainable development (http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/blog/2017/6/29/3-lessons-from-Equator-Prize-2017-winners.html). This award comes at a time when the initiative is currently in the process of replicating and up scaling its efforts in Vanga further south of Kenya.