Blue Ventures’ Research Director Alasdair Harris has been selected as winner of the 2010 Young Conservationist Award, an award by the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas and the International Ranger Federation which honours outstanding achievements by young people in the world’s protected areas.
Al, a founding Director of Blue Ventures, has spent a decade promoting the cause of marine conservation and research in the western Indian Ocean. His work has focused on developing new models for the sustainable financing of marine conservation in the region. Over recent years conservation initiatives piloted by Blue Ventures have won international acclaim for their contribution to biodiversity conservation and poverty alleviation.
“Alasdair’s outstanding work has benefited the marine environment and local people in Madagascar. It has shown that the involvement of local people with conservation can result in benefits to the environment and to people’s livelihoods. We warmly congratulate Alasdair on his leadership and well deserved award. We look forward to his further contributions to the global challenge of conservation.” says Nik Lopoukhine, Chair of the IUCN World Commission Protected Areas.
This year Blue Ventures replicated its work in Malaysia, Fiji and Belize. Blue Ventures’ vision is to scale its work for maximum impact: thousands of tropical marine communities in the Indian Ocean depend on healthy coral reefs and marine environments for income and survival.
"This award is an incredible honour, but also a reminder of the sobering reality of the condition of our oceans today” says Alasdair. “Throughout the world fisheries are collapsing on an unimaginable scale. In the tropics, many coastal people are already among the most marginalised communities on earth, acutely vulnerable to the impacts of developed-world over-consumption and climate change. In these environments conservation is not just about protecting coral reefs and biodiversity – it’s about ensuring the survival of people and the fragile ecosystems they depend upon. This award is testament to the commitments of some of the world's poorest communities to finding a sustainable future. Never has the need for commitments like these been greater."
Al will soon be in Australia to be presented with the award at the Healthy Parks Healthy People Congress in Melbourne, Australia, this April.
“The IUCN-IRF Young Conservationist Award honours the contribution of young people to conservation. Many of us in the world of Protected Areas know that local communities are and will be the key to taking care of these special places” says Deanne Adams, President of the International Ranger Federation. “The work that Al has done is an inspiring model for engaging local fisherman in identifying and managing sustainable conservation efforts. His work gives us hope for our planet's future."
The Young Conservationist award is a joint initiative coordinated by the International Ranger Federation and IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas, and supported by the George Wright Society and Parks Victoria, Australia.
For more information:
Based in Antananarivo, Madagascar: Telephone +261-343-133-987
Deanne Adams, International Ranger Federation President
Rebecca Koss, Young Professional Deputy Chair for Oceania, IUCN World Commission Protected Areas.