Above Photo: This aerial of Hā‘ena shows the Makua Pu‘uhonua area, which would be created under the rules, in foreground. – Courtesy: Joel Guy
Two grassroots mālama ‘āina groups have been selected for the UN Development Programme’s (UNDP) 2019 Equator Prize awards, highlighting their decades of conservation efforts as well as the important role that Native Hawaiian knowledge can play in the current era of climate change.
The UNDP selected Hui Mālama o Mo‘omomi of Moloka‘i and Hui Maka‘āinana o Makana of Kaua‘i based on their “innovative, nature-based solutions for tackling climate change, environmental and poverty challenges using the collaborative power of communities.” Representatives from the Hawai‘i hui will join those from 20 other selected communities for a week-long summit during the 74th United Nations General Assembly in New York. A celebratory gala honoring Prize recipients will also take place on September 24, 2019.
Hannah Kīhalani Springer of Kua‘āina Ulu ‘Auamo (KUA), a “backbone” organization that supports networks of mālama ‘āina community groups including the two selected hui, expressed the delight felt by many of KUA’s constituents. “It is very encouraging to everyone to see their efforts lifted up in this way. We are connected to indigenous communities around the world, all doing very important work in the face of tremendous challenges, in some cases, even threats to life, and to the land.”
“To be among the 22 selected from a pool of 847 nominations across 127 countries is an incredible honor,” she added.
The Equator Prize winners were chosen by an independent Technical Advisory Committee of internationally renowned experts, through a four-stage selection process emphasizing community-based models for addressing the climate crisis.
Supporters of the Equator Prize awards include several former heads of state, Nobel Prize winners Al Gore and Elinor Ostrom, indigenous rights leader Vicky Tauli-Corpuz and a range of other notable figures including Jane Goodall, Jeffrey Sachs, Richard Branson, Alec Baldwin, Edward Norton and others, as well as a long list of of partner governments and organizations.
The United Nations’ recognition of Hā‘ena and Mo‘omomi reflects the growing understanding of how Native Hawaiian and indigenous knowledge can ensure the health and well-being of not just our local communities, but potentially of our planet and its future generations.”
— Dr. Kamana‘opono Crabbe, former Ka Pouhana and CEO of OHA
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs has been a longtime advocate for community-based resource management, where subsistence communities’ intimate knowledge of and deep connection to their place can perpetuate both Native Hawaiian traditional and customary practices, as well as the natural and cultural resources they rely upon. OHA also understands that Hawaiian resource management perspectives and approaches may hold the key to our islands’ self-sufficiency and climate resiliency, with potential lessons for the entire world.
“The United Nations’ recognition of Hā‘ena and Mo‘omomi reflects the growing understanding of how Native Hawaiian and indigenous knowledge can ensure the health and well-being of not just our local communities, but potentially of our planet and its future generations,” stated Dr. Kamana‘opono Crabbe, former Ka Pouhana and CEO of OHA. “That not one, but two of just 22 communities selected from the entire world are from Hawai‘i, reflects the particular value that Hawaiian knowledge brings to the global discussions on climate change, food security and environmental sustainability.”
“OHA commends these Native Hawaiian communities and all others seeking to perpetuate and apply their cultural knowledge, values and practices as a means to mālama ‘āina and care for the resources and people of Hawai‘i nei.”