Posted on 01 November 2016
Honored for decades of efforts to preserve Russia's Amur River ecosystem
WWF-Russia’s Yury Darman has been named as one of the recipients of this year’s MIDORI Prize awarded by the AEON Environmental Foundation and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity for outstanding contribution toward conservation and the sustainable use of biodiversity. Director of the Amur branch of WWF-Russia, Yury Darman was recognized for his efforts to preserve the Amur River ecosystem in the Russian Far East over the past four decades.
The first Russian national and WWF official to win the prestigious MIDORI Prize, Darman is considered a pioneer of the Amur Ecoregion programme spanning a territory of around 1 million km² in the Global 200 site. Integrating scientific and traditional knowledge, he has led a comprehensive programme for biodiversity conservation leading to the strengthening of protection for iconic species such as the Amur tiger, Far Eastern leopard and Oriental stork and the doubling of nature reserves, national parks and wildlife refuges. Today, 25 per cent of Amur tiger habitats are under protection while the Far Eastern leopard has been brought back from the edge of extinction.
“This is a deserved recognition of one of the most exciting wildlife recovery programmes ever managed,” said Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International. “It is particularly special considering it involves one of the world’s most inspirational animals, the Siberian tiger. It reminds us that when we combine political will, science and relentless work on the ground we can save species, and with them nature, the planet and our own future.”
The MIDORI Prize for Biodiversity was established by the AEON Environmental Foundation in 2010 at the 10th
Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity held in Nagoya, Japan. An international biennial prize, it aims to raise public awareness about the importance of biodiversity and contribute to the objectives of the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity 2011 - 2020. It is the highest award bestowed for efforts to implement the goals defined under the Convention.
“I have devoted my entire life to the Amur River – to keep it free-flowing and to protect outstanding biodiversity,” said Darman. “As the ecological situation on the planet worsens, we are here on the frontlines trying to conserve the last islands of wilderness for mankind. That is why it is so important for us to know that we are an important part of a global environmental movement and that the international community knows about our work for nature conservation.”
Award Ceremony for the MIDORI Prize will be held in Cancún, Mexico, in December 2016, in conjunction with the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 13).