The impact of human action on biodiversity is a challez nge that remains unresolved. Numerous scientific studies confirm that these changes are causing the extinction of more and more species - the consequences of which are at least as severe as climate change. The work of civil society organization is essential to combat this phenomenon. This year, the BBVA Foundation once again sought to recognize the work of some of these organizations with its Biodiversity Conservation Awards.
The BBVA Foundation presented the winners of the 13th edition of these awards at a ceremony that included the participation of President of the BBVA Foundation, Francisco González. He underscored the social impact of environmental organizations: "We have a large spectrum of organizations - some are local, some are global - that are capable of carrying out significant programs, sometimes through collective action and advocacy targeting public and private decision-makers, other times promoting and managing conservation programs. Both are indispensable strategies given the magnitude of the challenges that must be overcome in this first part of the 21st Century.”
González added that: “We are still not fully conscious of our total dependence on biodiversity,” taking for granted the constant service the ecosystems provide us, yet severely altering them. For the BBVA Foundation President, “Countering the human species against all others, as if the other inhabitants of the planet were part of a stage that has nothing to do with us, is an erroneous perspective.”
"Humans are also part of the same stage in nature and we are the main actors influencing what takes place. Our very survival depends on our ability to preserve the extraordinary wealth of the planet we all share,” he noted.
Different fights, but the same goal
In this edition of the Biodiversity Conservation Awards, two long-lasting conservation efforts were recognized for promoting a sustainable human relationship with the environment - one which benefits both nature and its inhabitants.
In the category for Spain, the Nature and Man Foundation (Fundación Naturaleza y Hombre) was selected for its project to protect the western part of the Iberian Peninsula. The foundation’s president, Carlos Sánchez, accepted the award, pointing out that: “Biodiversity conservation still receives very little attention, despite the devastating situation.” Sánchez also emphasized that “society and the institutions are responsible” for the loss of biodiversity.
In the global category, the Moises Bertoni Foundation for the Conservation of Nature in Paraguay (Fundación Moisés Bertoni para la Conservación de la Naturaleza de Paraguay) received the award for its work on the Mbaracyú Reserve. Its director, Yan Speranza, stressed in his speech that: “The conservation paradigm cannot be separated from people, protecting it from them. Instead, we should continue to actively integrate communities. This award commits us to continue innovating, developing cutting-edge social technology that allows us to identify new opportunities to solve the complex problems facing the territories.”
In the knowledge sharing and awareness raising category, the journalists Rafael Serra, José Antonio Montero and Miguel Miralles were presented the award for their work at Quercus, one of the longest-running environmental magazines in Spain. "Quercus is a monthly miracle,” declared Serra, director of the publication, on behalf of the three award recipients. The journalist also stressed the fact that it is the first time in the history of the awards that a team was selected: “a team, a group of people who have dedicated their lives to ensure that Querus continues to be published regularly.” Three professionals who always believed that “it was a necessary magazine”.
Throughout the history of the BBVA Foundation Biodiversity Conservation Awards, a wide range of organizations have received the prestigious awards, including environmental or nature organizations like WWF, and associations focused on a certain species, like the Brown Bear Foundation (Fundación Oso Pardo). Efforts to protect specific ecosystems have also received the award - such as the Global Nature Foundation’s (Fundación Global Nature) work in wetlands, or the efforts of public institutions such as SEPRONA, essential in protecting nature. With these awards, the BBVA Foundation expresses its commitment to biodiversity conservation on a global scale.