Protected Areas

Kenton Miller Award: Innovation

Keobel Sakuma is awarded the prestigious Kenton Miller Award for innovation in protected area management Photo: Jennifer Kelleher(IUCN

Innovation and inspiration are keys to progress in our national parks and protected areas’ conservation objectives.

The Kenton Miller Award celebrates individuals who are taking bold steps in protecting these most valued resources by recognising their invaluable and innovative work with a 5,000 USD grant, international recognition by their peers and accompanying citation.


The year, the award was conferred at IMPAC4, the 4th International Marine Protected Areas Congress, that took place in September 2017 in Chile.  IMPAC4 was one of the last milestones on the pathway towards achieving the Aichi Targets in 2020. To celebrate progress in marine conservation the WCPA leadership decided to restrict nominations for the 2017 award to innovation in marine protected areas.

2017 Winner: Keobel Sakuma, Palau. Read the news story here!

The two other finalists were Jon Day, from Australia and Will McClintock, from the USA. Read the story: IUCN WCPA announces finalists for the Kenton  Miller Award 2017


Previous Kenton Miller Award laureates  

Dr Heliodoro Sánchez (2007) for his approach to restoring mangrove forests, Dr Marc Hockings (2008) for his contribution to management effectiveness of protected areas, and Dr Ernesto Enkerlin Hoeflich in 2009 for his outstanding achievements and innovations in wilderness area establishment.  Sue Stolton and Nigel Dudley (2010) were recognized for their instrumental role in highlighting how important protected areas are to people. Oscar Loayza (2012) was recognized for his innovative approach to indigenous peoples’ participation in protected area management. In 2014, Yusup Cahyadin, Sukianto Lusli and Agus Budi Utomo were joint winners for their role in developing and implementing innovative approaches to forest conservation in Indonesia. In 2016, the winner was Ashiq Ahmad Khan, who has gained national and international recognition for his work promoting the values and benefits of co-management with local authorities.

Nomination Process :

  • Nominations are called by the IUCN WCPA Chair every 2 years in January/February and prior to key global and regional IUCN and or WCPA meetings.
  • Nominations are invited from WCPA Members and others involved with protected areas.
  • The Award, its purpose and associated eligibility criteria is be announced in the WCPA newsletter and website, the IUCN Bulletin, and via  cooperating conservation organizations

Criteria for selection :

  • Ideally, nominees are employed by an organization that is involved with protected area management, associated education or research. The organization can be public, private, NGO or community-based;
  • Their innovation will fall within one or any combination of the following categories:
    • Ashiq Ahmad Khan, winner of the Kenton Miller Award 2016. From left to right: Kathy MacKinnon, Ashiq Ahmad Khan, Natasha Miller, Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, and Julia MirandaPlanning and management
    • Assessment, monitoring and evaluation
    • Learning and capacity-building
    • Economics and financing
    • Governance
    • Communication
  • The impact of his/her innovation can be demonstrated and will have been recognized and endorsed by peers at the local, national, and/or international level;
  • The Award will give preference to candidates that have not have been previously recognized internationally for their innovation;
  • The Award will not cover recognition for life-time service to protected areas or for bravery in their defense (as these merits are intended to be recognized by the IUCN/WCPA Packard Award).

Selection Process:

  • The nomination must address the criteria and must include a draft citation of no more than 250 words.
  • The IUCN WCPA Chair will establish a Selection Committee to examine the nominations all then identify the top three candidates.  The Selection Committee will be jointly established by the IUCN WCPA Chair and  the Director of the IUCN Global Protected Areas Programme.  The Committee will be comprised of at least 3 representatives from IUCN WCPA, the IUCN Global Protected Areas Programme and/or  other Conservation Agencies 
  • An independent Award Jury, consisting of three world-recognized conservation leaders will be established bye the IUCN WCPA Chair to analyze the three finalists, and select the winner.
  • All Selection Committee members and Jury members will act independently and withdraw from the process if there is any real or perceived conflict of interest.

Venue for presentation

The award will normally be awarded at the WCPA Full Members Meeting at the IUCN World Conservation Congress.  However it may also awarded at the World Parks Congress, WCPA Regional or other meetings, at the discretion of the WCPA Chair.

Kenton Miller Awardees at the World Parks Congress in Sydney, 2014

Photo: Kenton Miller Awardees at the World Parks Congress in Sydney, 2014

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