Director of WWF Russia wins MIDORI Prize

Dr Yuri Darman, Director of the WWF Office in the Russian Far East

Dr Yuri Darman, Director of the WWF Office in the Russian Far East. Photo: Hartmut Jungius / WWF

Dr Yury Darman, director of WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) Russia will be honored today 2 December at an Award Ceremony held on the thirteenth meeting of the COP to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Cancún, Mexico. He wins the MIDORI Prize, which is a biennial international prize organized by the AEON Environmental Foundation and the Secretariat of CBD to honor individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity at global, regional or local levels.

Since 2008 the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMUB) finances innovative projects of WWF Russia. Together with the KfW Entwicklungsbank WWF Russia implements projects which support the preservation of forests in Russia along with their climate and biological services. Furthermore the project protects endemic and endangered animals, including the Amur tiger, which is facing extinction.

Dr Yury Darman has integrated scientific and traditional knowledge into a comprehensive programme for biodiversity conservation under the umbrella of the protection of iconic rare species, such as the Amur tiger, the Far Eastern leopard and the Oriental stork. Thanks to largely his efforts, protected areas in the region have been increased and species populations have recovered.
Dr Darman took leadership in the elaboration and implementation of the Programme for Protected Area  Network  development, which now covers 12% of the Amur Ecoregion. The huge Amur Basin stretches from the eastern Mongolia to the Pacific Ocean, in the Northeast of China. The area is about two million square kilometers, which is four times the size of Spain.
Since 2000, he has been focusing on the creation of a protected area network for the Amur tiger. Through his efforts, 2 million hectares of protected areas were created, including innovative arrangements related to national parks and ecological corridors. Two IKI Projects contributed to his biggest success, which has been the announcement of the Bikin national park (1,160 thousand hectares) in 2015. Now, 25% of Amur tiger habitats are under protection which, together with anti-poaching and law enforcement, has contributed to increasing the population from 350 to 430 adult cats.

Dr Darman also elaborated and implemented a large project to ensure sustainable use of non-
timber forest products instead of logging in the context of an IKI project. He has given
focus  to  interlinkages  between  biodiversity  and  climate  change  and faced  important  biodiversity challenges through his influential work on the ground.

The other two winners of the 2016 MIDORI Prize are Dr Alfonso Aguirre-Muñoz, Executive  Director of Grupo de Ecología y Conservación de Islas, A.C. (Mexico) and Dr. Vandana Shiva, Founder  and Director of Navdanya (India).
Each of the prize winners is awarded a monetary prize of 100,000 US dollars to support their work.