Global crowd-sourcing contest seeks biodiversity-friendly solutions to agricultural challenges

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Farmers at Gunung Halimun, Indonesia. Photo by Terry Sunderland for Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

Unsustainable agricultural practices remain one of the greatest threats to ecosystems and biodiversity. With the world’s population expected to reach nearly 9.1 billion by 2050, there is an increasingly pressing need for more sustainable, biodiversity-friendly agricultural practices. Yet, behavior change in this field is often inhibited by lack of awareness of solutions and of biodiversity’s value for the agricultural sector. Solution Search, a global crowd-sourcing competition, is designed to change that. Run in direct partnership between Rare and IFOAM-Organics International, Solution Search aims to shine a spotlight on the most promising approaches to conservation and development challenges.

This year’s contest, Farming for Biodiversity, seeks entries that showcase innovative solutions in sustainable farming, while promoting behaviors that strengthen biodiversity across the agricultural sector. This theme is part of an overarching initiative of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and a focus of the 2016 13th annual Conference of Parties (COP), which aimed to shine a spotlight on the critical need for cross-cutting conservation solutions across political, economic, and social spheres.

In addition to two $30,000 grand prize awards, entrants will be eligible for one of four side prizes of up to $15,000 for community/social impact, food security/nutrition impact, biodiversity impact and water impact. All finalists will attend a capacity-building workshop and awards ceremony in New York, NY, USA, with some of the biggest names in conservation and development.

This contest is part of a larger project run in joint partnership by Rare and IFOAM-Organics International, and is funded by the International Climate Initiative (IKI), a German initiative supported by The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) on the basis of a decision adopted by the German Bundestag. Over three years, the partners will work together to identify these promising approaches and then host capacity-building workshops across the globe to spread these effective solutions. This workshop series – known as Campaigning for Conservation, will aim to further empower local practitioners to raise awareness of the value of biodiversity and to conduct social marketing campaigns promoting behavior change in support of the identified solutions. All entries to this contest will become part of a larger network of stakeholders engaged in supporting biodiversity-friendly agriculture.

The entry period for this year’s contest runs through March 10, 2017, with an opportunity to win $5000 for an entry submitted by the February 10th early entry deadline. To learn more, nominate someone or enter your solutions, please visit www.solutionsearch.org.