Every second year the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation (CIC) awards a conservation project of multinational relevance that links the conservation of biodiversity and human livelihoods through application of sustainable use principles. The award is granted at the Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). This award offers the opportunity to highlight the important conservation work accomplished by hunters everywhere. Information and award criteria for nominations can be found here.
Previous award winners include the Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) and the Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organizations (NACSO) in 2012, the Torghar Conservation Program (TCP) of the Society for Torghar Environmental Protection (STEP) in Pakistan in 2010 and the Selous-Niassa Wildlife Corridor in Tanzania and the Niassa National Reserve in Mozambique in 2008.
On occasion of the 12th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea, in October 2014 the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation (CIC) has honoured the Republic of Tajikistan with the prestigious CIC Markhor Award. The ceremony took place during the high-level segment of the Conference, in a cool venue, but warm atmosphere.
The CIC Markhor Award recognizes and celebrates outstanding conservation performance by personalities, private and government institutions, enterprises, or conservation projects that link the conservation of biodiversity and human livelihoods through the application of the principles of sustainable use, in particular hunting, as part of wildlife and ecosystem management.
Tamás Marghescu, CIC Director General said in his laudatio: “In naming the winner of the 2014 CIC Markhor Award you will see that there is a very important commonality between the prize winners and that of the laureates of 2008, 2010 and 2012. This commonality was not a necessary requirement in order to be selected, it just happened to be a commonality and might as well be the recipe for future success: the empowerment of the local population to look after and manage their own natural resources.”
The Minister of the Environment and Tourism of Namibia, H.E. Uahekua Herunga, representing the Conservancies of Namibia, who were the winners of the CIC Markhor Award in 2012, announced the 2014 laureate. The Minister highlighted that the selection of the winner had been difficult, as two of the nominees represented very high standards. In congratulating the winners from Tajikistan, he encouraged them to continue with the process of empowering local communities to manage their wildlife resource for the benefit of people, nature and economy. He welcomed the Tajik representatives to visit his country in order to experience the internationally acclaimed Namibian wildlife management success story first-hand.
The Tajikistan Mountain Ungulate Project is a joint initiative of 6 community-based conservancies. The Markhor Award 2014 was presented to three representatives of the Tajik communities from the project: Munavvar Alidodov, leader of NGO Yoquti Darshay (Darshaydara Conservancy), Saidali Nabievich Nazarov (Muhofiz Conservancy) and Ayubkhan Davlatishonovich Mulloyorov (Concession M-Sayud). The main international partners of this conservation initiative are: GIZ Regional Programme Sustainable Use of Nature Resources in Central Asia (Germany), Zoological Society for the Conservation of Species and Populations ZGAP (Germany), Panthera (USA) and the Tajik NGO Nature Protection Team. The award was handed over by H.E. Uahekua Herunga, together with Tamás Marghescu, Director General of the CIC.
In his message to the Conference of the Parties and the laureates, Bernard Lozé, President of the CIC, said that the CIC is standing ready to support Tajikistan and the entire Central Asia region to promote the concept of income generation through science-based conservation and sustainable use of wildlife.
Dr. Christian Glass from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development informed the audience that Germany started supporting conservation of globally important wildlife species in Central Asia in 2008. He congratulated the representatives of the community conservancies to the Award and emphasized the importance of the conservancies now being able to generate income in areas where other income sources are lacking, and to fund species’ conservation projects . He underlined that it was clear from the very beginning that the introduction of sustainable management schemes would be one key to success And he thanked the CIC for raising the awareness for conservation through sustainable use through the CIC Markhor Award.
Madibron Saidov, Head of Specially Protected Nature Conservation Areas Authority of Tajikistan highlighted in his message, how Tajikistan is fulfilling the requirements of the Convention on Biological Diversity by the establishment of a network of community-based wildlife management organizations. Tajik governmental authorities supported this approach from the start, ensured the allocation of game management areas and by allocating rights to the local community organizations. He stated that it was the objective of his authority to extend this approach to the whole of Tajikistan. Tajikistan is now making first steps in implementing conventions like CMS and CITES. Mr. Saidov requested the international community to support the Tajik efforts and offered cooperation in joint projects. Finishing, he thanked the local communities, the German government and all partners for their cooperation, and the CIC for having selected a Tajik entity as recipient of the CIC Markhor Award.
More than a decade ago local hunters and concerned individuals in Tajikistan started recognizing the need to conserve the mountain ungulates of their communal areas and in 2008 the first association to manage hunting on communal land was established. The recipients of the 2014 CIC Markhor Award were visibly touched by the warm welcome during the award ceremony and their words of appreciation continued well after the ceremony, emphasizing that this global recognition of their efforts was a call for responsible follow-up.