Global Crowd-Sourcing Contest Addresses Urgent Need for Change in Agricultural Practices

Share Article

“Solution Search” to find Biodiversity-friendly solutions to reduce Biodiversity loss, prevent soil degradation and feed growing population.

"Solution Search is an online prize competition designed to crowdsource solutions to pressing conservation and human development challenges." -Brett Jenks, Rare CEO

In an effort to connect critical links between needs, opportunity and action, international organizations are coming together to identify opportunities to increase agricultural production while protecting natural resources with the launch of Solution Search. This global crowd-sourcing competition, launched today, is designed to spotlight the most promising approaches to conservation and development challenges. This year’s contest aims to focus on biodiversity-friendly resource solutions within the agricultural sector.

Solution Search: Farming for Biodiversity, seeks entries that showcase innovative solutions in sustainable farming, while promoting behaviors that strengthen biodiversity across the agricultural sector. This theme is part of an overarching initiative of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and a focus of this year’s 13th annual Conference of Parties (COP) which aims to shine a spotlight on the critical need for cross-cutting conservation solutions across political, economic, and social spheres.

"Solution Search is an online prize competition designed to crowdsource solutions to pressing conservation and human development challenges,” says Brett Jenks, President and CEO of Rare. “Practitioners are creating great solutions all over the world, but they rarely write them up or share them, so they almost never get replicated, much less scaled.”

The contest will run in direct partnership with IFOAM-Organics International, with additional partners Convention on Biological Diversity Secretariat, Save the Children, Blue Solutions, the Global Island Partnership, and Panorama, joining from across the globe.

“Organic farmers have been showing us for years that it is possible to nourish soils, grow nutritious food and safeguard biodiversity,” says André Leu, President of IFOAM Organics International. “This competition is a great opportunity for them and the entire organic movement to showcase tried and tested innovative solutions that can bring true sustainability to our food and farming systems.”

This year’s Solution Search judging panel includes, Cristiana Paşca Palmer (Minister of Environment, Waters and Forests for Romania and incoming Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Dieversity), Danielle Nierenberg (Co-Founder and President of Food Tank), Dr. Naoko Ishii (CEO and Chairperson of Global Environmental Facility), and Ilona Porsché, (Head of Blue Solutions Initiative), who said of her involvement, "I am excited to participate in this year’s Solution Search contest, and offer our technical expertise in sourcing, documenting and sharing solutions."

Additional judges include Per Olsson, (Theme leader, Stockholm Resilience Center), Juan Pablo Bonilla (Sector Manager, Climate Change and Sustainable Development, Inter-American Development Bank), Bonnie McClafferty (Director, Agriculture and Nutrition, GAIN) and Pedro Alvarez Icaza L., (General Coordinator for Biological Corridors and Resources, CONABIO - Mexico).

Over the next nine months, the Solution Search partners will be soliciting entries, working with expert judges to narrow the field and asking the public to weigh in and vote as well.    The grand prize winner will receive $30,000, and there will be four category prizes of $15,000. There will be an early entrant prize of $5,000 to the best entry received by February 10, 2017. All prize money must be used to further the winner’s solution and organization’s goals. All finalists will win a trip to New York City to attend a capacity-building workshop and awards ceremony alongside some of the biggest names in conservation and development.

This contest is part of a larger project run in joint partnership by Rare and IFOAM-Organics International, and is funded by the International Climate Initiative (IKI), a German initiative supported by The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) on the basis of a decision adopted by the German Bundestag. Over three years, the partners will work together to identify these promising approaches and then host capacity-building workshops across the globe to spread these effective solutions. This workshop series – known as Campaigning for Conservation, will aim to further empower local practitioners to raise awareness of the value of biodiversity and to conduct social marketing campaigns promoting behavior change in support of the identified solutions. All entries to this contest will become part of a larger network of stakeholders engaged in supporting biodiversity-friendly agriculture.

Visit to learn more, apply, or nominate a fellow organization with a chance to win a $1,000 nomination prize yourself.

About Rare

Ranked in the top 25 NGOs in the world by NGO ADVISORS, Rare is an innovative conservation organization that implements proven conservation solutions and trains local leaders in communities worldwide. Through its signature social marketing campaigns (called Pride campaigns), Rare inspires people to take pride in the species and habitats that make their community unique, while also introducing practical alternatives to environmentally destructive practices. Employees of local governments or non-profit organizations receive extensive training on fisheries management, campaign planning and social marketing to communities. They are equipped to deliver community-based solutions based on natural and social science, while leveraging policy and market forces to accelerate positive environmental change through programs in clean water, sustainable agriculture, and coastal fisheries. To learn more about Rare, please visit

For more information and downloadable imagery, please visit our electronic press kit at

For media inquiries, please contact:
Julie Langlie, 410.353.4587, julie.langlie(at)bullseyecomm(dot)com

About IFOAM - Organics International

Since 1972, IFOAM - Organics International has occupied an unchallenged position as the only international umbrella organisation within the organic agriculture sector, uniting an enormous diversity of relevant stakeholders and key actors. IFOAM - Organics International implements the will of its broad-based constituency, close to 800 Affiliates in 125 countries, in a fair, inclusive and participatory manner.

IFOAM’s vision is worldwide adoption of ecologically, socially and economically sound agriculture systems, which will support the projects overarching goal to mainstream biodiversity into the agricultural sector. Through their extensive experi-ence working with smallholders, family farms and cooperatives in the sector, and by building local capacity through their Leadership Courses, IFOAM has the right knowledge, expertise, institutional structure and products to support the project.


Since 2008, the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) has been financing climate and biodiversity projects in developing and newly industrialising countries, as well as in countries in transition. Based on a decision taken by the German parliament (Bundestag), a sum of at least 120 million euros is available for use by the initiative annually. For the first few years the IKI was financed through the auctioning of emission allowances, but it is now funded from the budget of the BMUB. The IKI is a key element of Germany’s climate financing and the funding commitments in the framework of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

The Initiative places clear emphasis on climate change mitigation, adaption to the impacts of climate change and the protection of biological diversity. These efforts provide various co-benefits, particularly the improvement of living conditions in partner countries. The IKI focuses on four areas: mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, adapting to the impacts of climate change, conserving natural carbon sinks with a focus on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+), as well as conserving biological diversity. New projects are primarily selected through a two-stage procedure that takes place once a year. Priority is given to activities that support creating an international climate protection architecture, to transparency, and to innovative and transferable solutions that have an impact beyond the individual project. The IKI cooperates closely with partner countries and supports consensus building for a comprehensive international climate agreement and the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity. Moreover, it is the goal of the IKI to create as many synergies as possible between climate protection and biodiversity conservation.


Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Julie Langlie
Bullseye Communications
+1 410-353-4587
Email >
Visit website