The UN Development Programme has selected two grassroots Hawaii efforts dedicated to the perpetuation of indigenous and local knowledge and community-based conservation for the 2019 global Equator Prize awards.
This recognition by the UN Development Programme and its partners honors organizations that have come up with innovative, nature-based solutions for tackling climate change, environmental and poverty challenges using the collaborative power of communities.
The two Hawaiian winners will split the $10,000 prize, and are Hui Malama o Mo‘omomi on Molokai, and Hui Maka‘ainana o Makana on Kauai.
They will join the other winners in New York in September for a week-long summit during the 74th United Nations General Assembly and the awards will take place at a celebratory gala in New York on Sept. 24.
Hui Maka‘ainana o Makana
Haena State Park serves as a community hub for Hui Maka‘ainana o Makana, a nonprofit formed by lineal descendants of the traditional families of the area. Haena is one of the most heavily impacted tourist spots on the island averaging 2,300 visitors daily — over 800,000 a year — because of its beautiful beach, trail and many cultural and historic sites.
For over a decade, and since 2012 under the leadership of Presley Wann and Keli‘i Alapai, the hui worked on an initiative to partner with the state to implement the first community-based subsistence fishing area rules that allow for communities and the state to manage nearshore ocean areas together. The marine resources of Haena feed the families of Haena, and the sharing of catch between community members, young and old, is a tradition that affirms ties and promotes social cohesion.
The hui is one of the pioneers in using a nonprofit legal structure to advance a place-centered agenda that looks to the history, identity, meaning, ecology, values and people of a place to find emergent solutions to community-identified challenges.
Its achievements include:
• Working with local divers, fishers, kayak and scuba businesses, surfers and other ocean users and businesses to reach productive solutions to user conflicts;
• Collaborations with scientists and researchers to collect, document and interpret traditional knowledge of Haena fishers and elders;
• The creation of a pu‘uhonua (sanctuary) area — management uniquely based on the traditional ecological knowledge and sustainable fishing traditions of the community’s subsistence fishers;
• Partnering with the county and state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of State Parks to restore and care-take family burials, sacred sites and historic lo‘i (taro patches), and to develop a more culturally-appropriate and less-impactful plan for park management.
The Equator Prize has the support of several former heads of state, a number of major European governments, thought-leaders like Jane Goodall and Jeffery Sachs, indigenous-rights leaders like Vicki Tauli-Corpuz, Conservation International, the Nature Conservancy, and other major conservation organizations, and several philanthropists and celebrities.