In early November, the Caucasus Nature Fund’s (CNF) Executive Director Geof Giacomini was in London to accept the one-of-a-kind Marsh Marjan Award – which recognizes the contributions of individuals or organizations for their work on conservation issues in conflict areas.
Sponsored by the Marsh Christian Trust (MCT) in partnership with the Marjan Center for the Study of Conflict and the Environment at King’s College’s Department of War Studies, the award was established 8 years ago to call attention to an underrepresented but important field – nature protection in the midst of conflict.
The Caucasus Nature Fund’s (CNF), the 2019 recipient, has been providing financial support for operational costs of Protected Areas in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia for over 10 years. An independent German foundation, CNF seeks to conserve the unique flora, fauna and ecosystems of the Caucasus for future generation while at the same time improving the lives of local people today.
Director of Programmes for the Marjan Centre for the Study of Conflict and the Environment, Jasper Humphreys said, “The effect of recent invasions, and frozen conflicts in the South Caucasus has taken an enormous toll on its people; but, it has also significantly impacted species, habitats and ecosystems – some of the most unique on this earth. The Marjan Centre was created to study the impacts of conflict – both amongst countries as well as well as conflict between different internal interests such as local communities and economic interests such as hydroelectricity or mining. The work that CNF does in this complex context is both noble and necessary, and we are proud to recognize them this year for their contribution to ensuring positive outcomes for people and nature”.
For that last 20 years, Marsh Christian Trust Ambassador John Bennett has been working with local communities in the south-east of England to protect and promote the importance of natural habitats. He stated at the award ceremony, “Around the world human communities are facing immense political, cultural and economic change. This is particularly true of the Caucasus and its people. Alongside this change it is too easy to overlook the value of the natural systems that surround and support us. The role of CNF, working with the governments and the people of the Caucasus, to ensure that the international importance of these astonishingly beautiful and diverse habitats is recognised and celebrated, is crucial. MCT, with the Marjan Centre, is very pleased to recognise the contribution made by CNF to ensuring that this very special region is understood by its people, by decision makers and by the world”.
“CNF is proud to be recognized for the necessary work we do; we are grateful for the Marsh Marjan award and hope that it will bring more attention and resources to this beautiful, complex and fragile part of the globe”, stated Geof.