The Mirpuri Foundation and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) are proud to announce the winner of the Ocean Award 2024. This year’s prize marks a significant collaboration between the two organizations, emphasizing their combined effort to address pressing environmental challenges and pave the way for a more sustainable future.

The award recognizes excellence in the scientific community and rewards innovative projects with a positive impact on ocean health. This year, the award goes to an IUCN-led initiative titled “Strengthening Community Engagement and Improvement of Community-based Waste Management at Baan Koh Mook, Koh Libong Sub-district, Thailand.”

In addition to the grant provided by IUCN, the winner project of the Ocean Award 2024 received a 10,000-Euro prize from the Mirpuri Foundation, double the amount awarded in previous years, and was revealed in the Mirpuri Foundation Sailing Trophy Awards Ceremony on July 7 at Cascais, Portugal.

The project focuses on promoting multi-stakeholder engagement and improving waste management practices in the target community of Baan Koh Mook, Thailand with a particular emphasis on recyclable material and single-use plastic collection. Through the Mirpuri Foundation Ocean Award, the Foundation aims to further support its implementation.

“We are thrilled to partner with IUCN on this vital initiative,” said Dr. Paulo Mirpuri, President of the Mirpuri Foundation. “This project exemplifies the potential for innovative solutions that combine marine conservation with circular economy principles. By supporting such efforts, we can work towards a healthier ocean and a more sustainable future.”

The project will continue strengthening community co-management of natural resources for sustainable tourism, small-scale fisheries, and waste management through the capacity development of conservation groups and the implementation of agreements with relevant authorities.

The initiative expects to significantly improve Koh Mook’s waste management system, particularly regarding single-use plastic and recyclable material collection. Stakeholder meetings have already been conducted to discuss waste management strategies and introduce the project funding through the Ocean Award. Additionally, IUCN supports the Ban Koh Mook Community Tourism Enterprise with equipment for compressing recyclable materials for processing and training lessons on user instruction and maintenance.

IUCN has a history of supporting sustainable efforts in Koh Libong, situated near Koh Mook. Since 2021, IUCN has assisted eight communities in improving waste management and collaborative coastal resource management practices.

“The support provided by the Mirpuri Foundation Ocean Award will greatly enhance the community-based tourism group’s work on recycling in Baan Koh Mook, Koh Libong Sub-district, Trang Province, Thailand. Single use plastic collection will be improved by operating a compressing machine purchased thanks to the Award, which will significantly increase local recycling rates,” said Jake Brunner, Head of the Lower Mekong Subregion,  IUCN.

The Mirpuri Foundation has been a longstanding supporter of IUCN’s work, partnering with the organization since 2018. This commitment extends to the Mirpuri Foundation Sailing Trophy, a signatory to the Sports for Nature initiative, which leverages the power of sports for environmental good.

By highlighting innovative solutions and supporting impactful projects, the Mirpuri Foundation remains steadfast in its dedication to preserving the delicate balance of marine ecosystems and shaping a more sustainable future for our planet.

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About the Mirpuri Foundation

The Mirpuri Foundation is a non-profit organisation based in Portugal. Entrepreneur Paulo Mirpuri founded it to contribute to a better world for future generations. With its belief that leading by example is the best way to change mindsets, the Mirpuri Foundation fosters cooperation between legislators, corporations, communities and individuals. The Mirpuri Foundation has six distinct areas: Marine Conservation, Wildlife Conservation, the Performing Arts, Social Responsibility, Medical Research and Aerospace Research. The foundation’s commitment to sustainability is transversal and is reflected in all its activities. The Mirpuri Foundation is synonymous with technology, research, information and innovation. Allied with these characteristics are the values of integrity, perseverance and altruism to better impact the planet.

About IUCN

Created in 1948, IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) is a membership Union uniquely composed of both government and civil society organisations. IUCN is the global authority on the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it. It harnesses the experience, resources and reach of its more than 1,400 Member organisations and the input of more than 16,000 experts. IUCN provides public, private and non-governmental organisations with the knowledge and tools that enable human progress, economic development and nature conservation to take place together.