Leuser Ecosystem Conservationist Farwiza Farhan Wins Whitley Awards for Nature
Farwiza Farhan has been chosen out of 130 applicants from all over the world in recognition of her project “Citizen Lawsuits: Defending local livelihoods and Sumatra's iconic species in the Leuser Ecosystem”.
See Whitley Award video narrated by Sir David Attenborough -
The Leuser Ecosystem is a forest area located in Aceh that is under threat of being cleared for the industrial development of palm oil plantations.
The Whitley Fund for Nature supports outstanding nature conservationists around the developing world. The awards, known as the Green Oscars, are worth £35,000 in project funding over one year.
"The threat of flood, landslides, drought and other natural disasters is a very real threat. We hope that members of government will open their hearts and minds and see these demands for what they are. No one person on the list of plaintiffs is expecting any personal financial gain from pursuing this lawsuit. We do this because it's important for us, for the people of Aceh and for future generations," Farwiza said.
The nine plaintiffs are all community and local leaders who live within and around the Leuser Ecosystem. They are part of Gerakan Rakyat Aceh Menggugat ( Aceh Society Action Movement, or GERAM ), a grassroots movement that started last year after numerous failed attempts to encourage the Aceh administration and Legislative Council to revise the Aceh Provincial Spatial Plan. The movement wants the spatial plan to designate the Leuser Ecosystem as a “national strategic area” for its environmental value.
Farwiza is the co-founder of Forest, Nature and Environment of Aceh ( HAkA ), an NGO that aims to create long-term sustainability in the region. Her organization and the Leuser Ecosystem have recently become the subjects of attention after Leonardo DiCaprio posted photos of his visit to the area.
"It was nice. I'm thoroughly impressed by his depth of knowledge and genuine intention," recalled Farwiza of her meeting with the Oscar-winning actor.
"I'll use the money granted to me to fund community empowerment through Citizen Lawsuits," said the 29-year-old PhD candidate when asked about what she would do if she won.
The annual Whitley Awards 2016 has been funded by the Whitley Fund for Nature for the last 23 years. The annual Whitley Awards is one of the most awaited yearly events of environmentalists and conservationists worldwide and supports the cause of conservation leaders and their projects aimed to protect the endangered wildlife.
Sir David Attenborough, Trustee of the Whitley Fund for Nature said that "Whitley Award winners are simply exceptional people - passionate individuals who are committed to achieving positive environmental impact and long-term conservation and community benefits."
To enable 'No Kill, No Cut' protection for endangered national parks and world heritage sites with Global Park Defense