Sixth Biodiversity Competition in Azerbaijan Finalized

6 December 2007

Today BP, on behalf of its co-ventures in major oil and gas projects in Azerbaijan, announced the 6th Biodiversity Competition award in Azerbaijan. The award presentation ceremony was held in Baku today and was attended by a large group of representatives of all relevant institutions, government authorities, non-governmental organizations and the media. 

The competition is part of BP’s and its co-ventures’ biodiversity strategy in Azerbaijan and supports their commitment to undertaking a series of specific biodiversity initiatives in the countries and areas where we operate. This year’s competition was based on the success of the preceding five competitions and had the same objective, which is to make a real, measurable and positive impact on the biodiversity of the world. It aimed to find the best ideas for raising awareness of the importance of preservation of the world’s biodiversity, ideas which can be implemented in a practical way both today and in the future. 

The competition was held in two categories – the best biodiversity project and the best environmental awareness project. The best biodiversity project category included such topics as critical ecological systems, protected areas and protection of endangered species, and ecotourism with a total budget up to $20,000 USD. The best environmental awareness project category covered such issues as preparation of environmental teaching aids including books, booklets, posters, and target-specific actions with a total budget up to $10,000 USD. 
The competition was announced in May, 2007 through detailed advertisements in the press. Standard application forms for project submissions were distributed via all BP offices to various organizations. Three boards were set up to review and evaluate the submitted proposals and articles. The boards evaluated the submitted materials through a multi-stage process: 
1. Screening submissions for compliance with BP’s standards and policies – this was carried out by a jury consisting of members of the competition’s organizational committee comprised of representatives of BP and the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources. 
2. Technical appraisal – this was done by the Scientific Advisory Panel comprised of well-known specialists from reputable governmental and non-governmental organizations. 
3. Final project evaluation – this was implemented by the Awards Committee comprised of representatives of BP and the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources. 

Some 80 applications from 44 organizations were submitted to the competition by the deadline of September 1, 2007. 

The main prize of this year’s competition in the best biodiversity project category was awarded to the project “Reproduction and Reintroduction of Unique and Endangered Plants of the Absheron Peninsular” submitted by the non-governmental organization Ecostyle-Azerbaijan. The value of this project is $19,120. 

The second prize and an award of $1,500 went to the project “Veteran and Champion Trees of Azerbaijan” also submitted by Ecostyle – Azerbaijan. 

The third prize and an award of $1,000 was presented to the public association “Bird Ecology and Protection” for their project on the theme “Globally and regionally endangered bird species and their protection in the Azerbaijan Sector of the Caspian Sea and surrounding areas.” 
In addition, the public association “Euro-Caucasus Environmental Initiative” was highly commended by the judging panel for their project “The forecasting of genetic erosion in plants’ using wild flora of Azerbaijan as an example.” The association was awarded $500 to be used for capacity building purposes. 

The main prize of this year’s competition in the best environmental awareness project category was awarded to the youth development public association “Brilliance of Youngsters” for the project “Environmental problems as seen by Azerbaijani youngsters”. The value of the project is $9,356. 

The second prize and an award of $1500 were awarded to the public association “Veterinary Sanitation and Environmental Protection” for the project “Environmental awareness of population in western regions of Azerbaijan.” 

The third prize and an award of $1,000 were awarded to Ecostyle-Azerbaijan for the project “Four different posters on Azerbaijan’s Biodiversity.” 

In addition, the scientific and environmental association “Ecoil” was highly commended by the judging panel for their project “Impact of negative factors on Azerbaijan’s biodiversity and ways to eliminate them “. The organisation was awarded $500 to be used for capacity building purposes. 
Notes to Editors:

Biodiversity occupies an important place in BP’s and its co-venturers’ environmental strategy. BP’s global environmental policy goal is “no damage to the environment” and as a company it believes that it can have a real, measurable and positive impact on the biodiversity of the world. That is a high aspiration – but like the company’s other aspirations BP is determined to show that it can deliver. 

To date BP and its co-venturers have supported in Azerbaijan several important biodiversity initiatives. These include a tortoise breeding project, a study of fish off the coast of Sangachal, a study of plants and mammals along the existing and planned pipeline routes, and a joint project with the Caspian Environmental Programme on the development of a biodiversity convention. To ensure the widest possible use, BP has shared its environmental and biodiversity data with Caspian littoral countries through the Caspian Environmental Programme. BP also supports a project aimed at rehabilitation of Tugai Forests in Azerbaijan. This project implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources and Azerbaijan’s experts is nearing completion. 


For further information please contact:
Tamam Bayatly, BP Baku Press office, telephone:      994 (0) 12 599 4557