Giuseppe Antoci wins Alfred Toepfer Medal in 2016
The Alfred Toepfer Medal was awarded to Giuseppe Antoci in 2016, Director of the Nebrodi Regional Park in Sicily, Italy, as a recognition of his strong courage in defense of nature against organised crime.
Since he was appointed as President of the Nebrodi Regional Park Giuseppe Antoci’s commitment has been addressed to guarantee the utmost administrative regularity of the Park Authority. Antoci is fighting the local mafia system that has spread in recent years and that allowed to receive European funds for the support of fake farmers and shepherds pretending to manage large areas of agricultural land.
Therefore, he has adopted a specific legality protocol with the Messina Prefecture which includes the anti-mafia certification (i.e. a check that there are no mafia infiltration in the farms management) for all the pastures in the park territory. The so called “Antoci’s protocol”, is now recognised as a successful model that has been signed by all Prefects and the President of the Region, and extended to the entire island.
Because of his daily commitment against the mafia, he received many life-threats and is under protection since December 2014. In 18th May 2016, he was victim of an attack by the local mafia but thanks to the State Police, he miraculously survived. The results Mr. Antoci is achieving demonstrate how protected areas can play a crucial role not only for the conservation of biodiversity but also for ensuring a legal defence especially in those territories in which the local communities are victims, along with the environment and landscape values.
About the Alfred Toepfer Medal
The Alfred Toepfer Medal, named after the founder of the EUROPARC Federation, Dr h.c. Alfred Toepfer (1894-1993) is awarded annually in recognition of a particular individual who has made a significant contribution to nature protection in Europe. The medal is presented at the annual EUROPARC conference.
Learn more about the Medal and get to know all Alfred Toepfer Medal winners.