Top UN Award for Indigenous Forest Carbon Project in Vanuatu

A man and boy planting a tree in a community owned protected forest

A family business on a remote island has made history in Vanuatu, receiving one of the United Nation’s most prestigious awards for their efforts towards ecosystem protection and climate resilience.  The business, Ser-Thiac, manages the first indigenous-owned certified forest carbon project in the Pacific Islands.  As the Nakau Programme’s flagship project, Ser-Thiac has reduced approximately 15,000 tons of CO2 emissions to date and offers a powerful new model for carbon credits based on indigenous land rights, stewardship, and climate resilience.

“We are so pleased to have this recognition,” says family member Serge Warakar, whose land is within the Loru Community Conservation Area, “We have worked for many years to secure and regenerate our forest.  The Loru Carbon Project has enabled us to benefit economically from our role as environmental stewards.  We have used the revenue for local employment, investing in agroforestry, paying school fees and securing our water supply.”

UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner stated, “Every day, thousands of local communities and indigenous peoples around the world are quietly implementing innovative nature-based solutions to mitigate and adapt to climate change.  The Equator Prize is both a recognition of their exceptional ideas and a way to showcase the power of people and grassroots communities to bring about real change.”

Ser-Thiac was chosen from a pool of over 847 nominations from across the globe. The four-stage selection process emphasized community-based approaches that provide a blueprint for replication and scaling solutions to address our climate crisis.  Representatives of Ser-Thiac will travel to New York in September to formally receive their award.

The Loru Project is part of the Nakau Programme, an initiative that reduces indigenous community vulnerability to climate-related risks and poverty by helping indigenous landowners sell carbon offsets and conservation credits instead of timber as a way of delivering community economic development. In Vanuatu the Nakau Programme works with Live & Learn Environmental Education Vanuatu.

“The carbon market has demonstrated its desire to invest in indigenous forest management through the Loru Project” states Anjali Nelson, Nakau Programme Co-Founder, “Ser-Thiac are leaders in this space and we are very pleased for them indeed.” 

Ser-Thiac have hosted representatives of other Pacific Island countries who are looking to learn from the Loru Project and replicate similar initiatives in their countries.  The Nakau Programme currently has similar projects underway in Fiji, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.  Current projects are certified under the Plan Vivo Standard. For more information see

Nakau Program Logo


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