The winners of the Biodiversity Reporting Award 2005 (BDRA) were recognized today during the International Media & Environment Summit. News World International invited the journalists to participate in the event, held in Kuching, Malaysia, from November 30 to December 2, 2005.
Ong Keng Young, General Secretary of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), was one of three dignitaries awarding commemorative plaques to each winner at a ceremony in the Kuching Hilton Hotel.
The honorees Francisco Javier Mndez from Bolivia, Jos Raimundo de Oliveira and Reinaldo Jos Lopes from Brazil, Juan Fernndez from Colombia, Nikolai Johann Earle from Guyana, Ocane Randrianantoandro from Madagascar, Karina Cecilia Garay from Per and Carla Candia from Venezuela were also paid tribute by Alexander Thomson from News World Intermational, Haroldo Castro from Conservation International and Mnica Prez de las Heras from the Biodiversity Foundation of Spain. Ecuador's winner, Paul Tufino, was unable to attend the ceremony.
"This award is an important tool for promoting biodiversity conservation and environmental protection," said Haroldo Castro, Vice President of Global Communications at Conservation International and Award executive director. "The contest grows each year, and we plan to expand to at least one new country in 2006."
During the event, Ong Keng Young also announced the winners of the BDRA's Andean category. The first-prize winner, Juan Fernandez of Colombia's The Spectator, was selected among the winners of the five Andean countries (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela). The second place Andean award was given to Alexander Ayala Ugarte, from La Razn in Bolivia. Ayala was selected from among the second place winners in the region.
The Biodiversity Foundation invited both winners to Madrid, where the Spanish Ministry of the Environment will recognize them with trophies and cash awards of 2,000 and 1,000 Euros, respectively.
"It is an honor for the Biodiversity Foundation to welcome these winners to Spain. This award is an example of international cooperation between Spanish and Latin-American journalists, " explained Mnica Prez de las Heras, the Biodiversity Foundation's Communications and Awareness Director.
The Award is a partnership between Conservation International, the Biodiversity Foundation of Spain's Ministry of the Environment, the International Center for Journalists and the International Federation of Environmental Journalists.
For the 2005 Award, 218 journalists submitted 376 articles published by 107 media houses. This year Brazil also celebrated its second BDRA Television Award with more than 33 video entries.
Additional information on the BDRA is available on its website www.biodiversityreporting.org
. The site contains 1,323 stories reflecting seven years of conservation news from these biodiversity-rich countries.