Of the fifteen conservationists from around the world who were recognised as ‘Hotspot Heroes’ during the 6th World Conservation Congress of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) at the Bishop Museum in Hawaii, the USA, one was our own.

At the congress, Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund celebrated its 15th anniversary by recognising 15 conservationists from around the world as Hotspot Heroes. Besides from Bhutan, heroes were also recognised from the Dominican Republic, Solomon Islands, Mozambique, Ghana, Vietnam, Madagascar, South Africa, Tunisia, Panama, China, Cook Islands, Peru, Colombia, and India.

The Hotspot Heroes were chosen among the many dedicated and dynamic individuals who are taking serious actions to ensure the future of the biodiversity hotspots and the people who depend on these vital ecosystems. And, often, in doing so, the heroes have to endure innumerable challenges like working very long hours, gruelling travel, adjusting to difficult working conditions and political hurdles, among others. They were resognised for their efforts to make the world we live in healthy and sustainable.

At a time when protecting nature and the very future of our planet is increasingly becoming challenging, recognising the efforts of serious conservationists to make the world we live in healthy and sustainable is more than just critical. We commend the IUCN World Conservation Congress and the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund for recognising the efforts of the heroes. We also hope that this will encourage the rest of the world to think and make honest efforts to protect the future of our planet.

We must know that  biodiversity hotspots are Earth’s most biologically rich and threatened areas. The world’s 36 biodiversity hotspots hold high numbers of unique species, yet their combined area covers only 2.3 percent of the Earth’s land surface. And each one is today facing extreme threats and has lost significant percent of its original habitat.

That’s why recognising Hotspot Heroes is an important step towards addressing degradation of critical ecosystems that will pose threat about 2 billion people who live in these extremely fragile environments. Maintaining healthy ecosystems is important because human well-being rests on it entirely.

We congratulate the heroes for showing the world how important conservation of our ecosystems are.