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The National Alliance of Rivers and Watersheds of Costa Rica has announced that its new environmental award will be named the “Rafael Gallo Palomo Award, Safeguarding the Future,” in honor of conservationist Rafael Gallo Palomo.
Rafael Gallo is president of Rios Tropicales rafting and adventure company in Costa Rica, founder of the Rios Tropicales Rainforest Reserve, the co-founder and current honorary president of the International Rafting Federation, and author of the book “The Rivers of Costa Rica” (1988). Mr. Gallo serves on several boards of nonprofit and government organizations where he advocates for the protection of forests, rivers, wildlife, and local communities, including: the Rios Tropicales Foundation which he co-created for environmental conservation in Costa Rica; the Costa Rica Natural Reserves Network for which he served as President from 2009-2013; and the Blue Flag Committee of Costa Rica. For more than 35 years, Mr. Gallo has led the effort to protect Costa Rica’s rivers, including preventing the building of a hydroelectric dam on the Pacuare River, named one of the world’s most scenic rivers by National Geographic.
“With this initiative, the Alliance will honor the name and career of Mr. Gallo Palomo in the defense of the rivers, and will stimulate the care of the environment, natural resources and especially water resources, through the recognition and rewarding of the work that individuals, groups, companies or institutions perform in their favor and their achievements in this area,” said Roberto de la Ossa, General Director of the National Alliance of Rivers and Watersheds of Costa Rica.
The Costa Rica National Alliance of Rivers and Watersheds is a citizens’ organization dedicated to taking concrete actions to face global water management challenges, particularly in Latin America and the Caribbean, and specifically in Costa Rica. The environmental organization has a mission that all rivers in Costa Rica flow “healthily” into the oceans. The Alliance has adopted the goals set by the United Nations agenda for Sustainable Development for 2030.
The Rafael Gallo Palomo Award’s main purpose is to recognize and stimulate the work carried out in Costa Rica in favor of environmental improvement and on the ways to benefit the rivers and water sources in general, said Mr. de la Ossa.
“Apart from its reason for being: the future of our rivers, the Rafael Gallo Palomo Award pays deserved homage to Mr. Rafael Gallo. Rafael has been one of the persons who has been most active in the conservation of rivers in Costa Rica, which he has done in many ways. The award has the purpose to recognize him for all the work that he has done for the rivers in our country, and for the betterment of the environment,” said Mr. de la Ossa.
“This is a very just honor for him. His accomplishments are abundant. Very few people have the record of Rafael for protecting the rivers. He is one of the first to fight for the conservation of the Pacuare River and has accomplished that the Pacuare has been preserved. He is not the only one but is one of the most important in the grand battle for this river,” Mr. de la Ossa added.
“It is an incredible honor to have my passion for conservation be recognized by an award being named after me, and by such an important organization as the National Alliance of Rivers and Watersheds in Costa Rica,” said Mr. Gallo. “My goal is that all of Costa Rica, and the world, be united together into ‘one river’ of conservation and protection of our planet’s natural resources and beauty.”
The Rafael Gallo Palomo Award will be given every two years on the fourth Sunday in September on World Rivers Day. The first award will be presented on Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019. The award will be a statue carved in Jobo wood by national sculptor Mario Parra Brenes, winner of the National Award of Culture Aquileo J. Echeverría.
The Alliance invites Costa Rican citizens to promote the objectives of the award, either by personal initiative or through groups or organizations, and is accepting recommendations of candidates to be considered for the 2019 award.
“With this award, we want to continue the motivation to save Costa Rica’s rivers. There are a lot of forces in the country working to rescue our rivers and we want to involve all Costa Ricans in this mission to have our rivers arrive ‘healthy’ to the sea. There are many people fighting for the rivers – organizations, communities and individuals – and this is a way that we can recognize them,” explained Mr. de la Ossa.
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