"The Equator Initiative Award" in recognition for its work in the conservation of sea turtles of Cape Verde

United Nations, February 14, 2011- The "Nova Experiência of Cruzinha da Garça" Communitarian Association, from Cruzinha, from Santo Antão, was recently awarded with the prize "The Equator Initiative Award" in recognition for its work in the conservation of sea turtles of Cape Verde.

By winning the prize, which is assigned by the UNDP, the "Nova Experiência of Cruzinha" Association demonstrated by the results the quality and level of their involvement in the preservation of natural resources, beyond to witness that the development of partnerships in this area is crucial and feasible. The award also recognized the contribution to the relevant environmental policies and the role of the local community in the fight for poverty reduction.

The "Nova Experiência" Association includes 111 members seeking alternative ways of using local marine resources, the main mean of livelihood, and to improve quality of life for families.

The measures to conserve the sea turtles began in 2006 with the support of the INDP (National Institute of Fishing Development), with simple activities for the protection of beaches against picking sand and eggs. In 2006 10 nests was marked and surrounded and the access to the coastal zone was controlled to avoid looting of nests and extraction of eggs. In 2007 received authorization to monitor the beaches from sand mining.

The conservation and utilization of sea turtles currently represent one of the viable alternatives to this community. Community activities have attracted the interest of national and foreign scientists. The local conservation initiatives have provided to some members small economic benefits. To fishermen, through the payment of travel services of scientists to remote areas, where the turtles are concentrate. To young volunteers and women, who perform the action-research, through logistical support to researchers. Over the past four years this activity has yielded approximately 20,000 Euros, not counting funds from the GEF SGP / UNDP.

As a result of the local work, the catch of females decreased 100%. Four (4) Neighboring Communities have been involved in this objective. The sand extraction is prohibited in the area, although there is still some conflict with extractors. Because the beaches are not as conducive for nesting, a pond was built, thus increasing the hatching rate in the area. Only 200 turtles left the small pond and were thrown back in the sea.

In the scope of the recognition of the work done, the United Nations in Cape Verde organized a ceremony to recognize this association, at its headquarters in the city of Praia, on February 15, which was chaired by the Resident Coordinator of UN System in Cape Verde, Ms. Petra Lantz, and also attended by some representatives of Cruzinha and the President of the INDP, Eng. Óscar David Melício.


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