Chief Larry Philip Fontaine
Chief Larry Philip Fontaine, born in Sagkeeng Ojibway First Nation in Manitoba, Canada, has made outstanding contributions to the protection of the environment and to the transmission of indigenous knowledge.
For more than 25 years, he has been working to increase awareness and understanding of Aboriginal peoples both nationally and internationally, and to create mechanisms for Aboriginal peoples' active participation in national and international forums.
He has served in the Federal Government as Regional Director in the Yukon Department of Indian Affairs and as Deputy Federal Coordinator of the native Economic Development programme. He was Grand Chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, and since 1996, has served as National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations in Canada.
Chief Fontaine has helped the aboriginal peoples of Canada address the issue of environmental degradation in their communities, and has helped them develop the skills necessary to record, interpret, monitor and solve problems dealing with the protection of their lands and resources. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Center for Indigenous Environmental Resources (CIER) in 1994.
An integral component of CIER's success has been its ability to form partnerships between First Nations peoples, governments, organizations and academic institutions, both at home and abroad. In 1996, he helped develop an innovative and culturally-based Environmental Education and Training Programme (EETP), which provides First Nations individuals, recruited from across Canada, with indigenous and western environmental knowledge and skills.
The programme comprises a 15-month class instruction and a three-month field practicum, which is held in a First Nation community. Participants are given the tools to engage in environmental protection initiatives on First Nation lands, particularly as they relate to environmental impact assessment, auditing and monitoring. He was instrumental in securing CIER's access to the Traditional Knowledge Working Group Meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity held in Spain in 1997, and for securing a position as a permanent member of the Convention on Biological Diversity and of the Traditional Knowledge Working Group of the Canadian Federal Government.
Boureima Wankoye is president of Achats Service International (ASI) - a company which has proven to be an excellent example of a private sector initiative in environmental protection.
ASI introduced and encouraged the mass plantation of bum arabic for export to Europe in the drylands of Niger, which has not only helped rehabilitate degraded land in these areas, it has also provided a profitable, income-generating activity for its inhabitants. It has thus tackled both adverse weather and land conditions as well as poverty, marking a breakthrough in sustainable development in drylands, where the world's poorest reside. Its activities have proven that innovative, profit-making solutions to environmental problems are feasible even in the poorest agricultural and economic conditions, and with modest capital.
The plantation of 1,200 hectares of gum arabic in the drylands of Niger by ASI has greatly contributed to environmental rehabilitaiton and the eradicatin of poverty in these areas. It has provided a source of income for more than 6,000 rural families, rehabilitated degraded land through afforestation, helped preserve almost extinct animal species, and created value for African agricultural products in the world market. It has also drawn attention to the value of gum arabic, which requires little water and no fertilizer and can be used for commercial purposes such as soft drinks, cosmetics and civil aviation, as a specimen for profit-generating agricultural production in dryland rural areas.
ASI's example has paved the way for the establishment of other such enterprises in drylands throughout the country and round the region.
Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak
To address this situation, Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, a social worker, environmentalist and Founder of the Sulabh International Social Service Organisation, developed the technology of a twin-pit, pour-flush toilet known as Sulabh Shauchalaya, of which over one million have been constructed. This environment friendly technology provides on-site disposal with no smell and soil pollution, and it conserves water.
Through this development, there has been a massive change in the attitude and behaviour of people towards sanitation. Indians now readily pay charges in 6,000 Sulabh public toilets.
Biogas production from human excreta in 120 public toilets and its various uses, e.g. lighting, cooking, etc and the use of effluent as rich fertilizer is one of his hallmark contributions. To the biogas plant is attached the Sulabh effluent as rich fertilizer is one of his hallmark contributions. To the biogas plant is attached the Sulabh effluent treatment plant, whereby water discharged is made colourless, odourless and pathogen free, fit for reuse in agriculture, pisciculture, or cleaning of public toilet or discharge into any water-body, promoting a better and healthier environment. In both the technologies, there is production of organic nutrient-rich fertilizer and reuse and recycling of waste matter.
In 1996, Pathak’s Sulabh Sanitation System was recognized as Global Urban Best Practice by UN-Habitat at
Adult Award Winner in 1987