Gulf of Mannar biosphere reserve director selected for UNESCO award
The $12,000 award is given once every two years in memory of Dr Michel Batisse for outstanding achievement in management of biosphere reserves across the globe.
RAMANATHAPURAM: In a first for an Indian, Ramanathapuram wildlife warden and director of Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve, Bakan Jagdish Sudhakar, has been selected for UNESCO’s Michel Batisse Award for effective biosphere reserve management. The Indian Forest Service officer will receive the award and deliver a lecture on his case studies at a function to be held in Paris on June 14.
The $12,000 award is given once every two years in memory of Dr Michel Batisse for outstanding achievement in management of biosphere reserves across the globe. The award was instituted in 2004 following a decision of the International Coordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme of UNESCO. According to an official statement from UNESCO, MAB had received nominations from 16 eligible candidates this year.
In March 2023, the advisory committee members recommended Bakan Jagdish’s name for the 2023 award for his case study titled “Development of Sustainable Livelihood and Community Based Biodiversity Conservation and Environment Protection”. In 2021, Sharon Wright of Australia has won the award for her work in Noosa Biosphere Reserve.
Speaking to TNIE, Bakan Jagdish Sudhakar said, “We are doing various works at Gulf of Mannar Biosphere. We have submitted details about six projects, including creation of plastic-free zones at Dhanushkodi and Ervadi areas through check posts and collection, mangrove forest management on coastline, integrated growth of communities and environmental management, and protection of species including endangered ones, among others. We have submitted case studies of six such works to the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF).”
‘Recognition pushes me to work harder’
Following the ministry’s approval, application was sent to (MAB) programme of UNESCO for the award.” Expressing his joy, Jagdish said, “I am honored and proud to be the first Indian to receive such a prestigious award. Such recognition pushes me to work even harder to bring the much needed change in the field.”