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Sep 30, 2015

Maya Leaders Alliance Win Equator Prize 2015

The Equator Prize 2015, a prestigious international award acknowledging exceptional local achievement in improving sustainable development solutions for people, nature and resilient communities, has been won by the Maya Leaders Alliance.  The announcement came recently from the United Nations Headquarters in New York, where UNDP Administrator Helen Clark emphasized the importance of local climate and sustainable development solutions.  The Maya Leaders Alliance is among twenty-one winners of the prize this year.  News Five spoke with MLA Program Coordinator Pablo Mis.


On the Phone: Pablo Mis, Program Coordinator, MLA

“As community leaders, members of the community, we know that life is not getting any easier.  No matter how you put it, it is a fact that life is becoming much more difficult. The issues of poverty; of community members living in…the issues of the law; the rampant exploitation of resources and climate change are some of the main concerns at the forefront when you think of the conditions that we are living in. So those are some of the challenges that we suffer as Belizeans and that we share with the rest of the world. So it part of a global movement; that global movement looks at how some of these critical issues might be dealt with at a local level. In that regard, the United Nations Development Program along with the Equator Prize initiative, recognized the treasure as a key part, a key solution to these global problems that are facing all countries of the world. It is an interesting recognition for Belize, for the Mayan people, from a pool of about one thousand four hundred and sixty-one submissions from one hundred and twenty-six countries…Belize and the Maya Land Rights is one of the twenty-one recognized. As I said it is a significant recognition for Belize. I think it increases the urgency on the government of Belize to recognize and to accept that it has been proven that without land rights our forests are more prone to deforestation and our people will remain powerless in the situation at the bottom of the ladder. So in that context then, the Mayan land rights given places the struggle of the Maya people on the path of increasing effective development that will allow us to unlock the potential of the community. And we are contributing to addressing global issues such as climate change.”


Pablo Mis

Isani Cayetano

“This award ceremony is to be held in December you mentioned?”


On the Phone: Pablo Mis

“Yes, so the awards will be given as a part of the United Nation’s Climate Change Conference that will be held in Paris in the last week of November and first week of December. I believe it will end on December seventh. At that event, there will be two representatives from the Maya community that will travel to Paris to receive the award. Most importantly we hope to engage in community dialogue with representatives from other countries that will be there for those awards.”


Each winning initiative will receive ten thousand U.S. dollars and will be supported to participate in a series of special events at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in December.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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