From Protecting Bluefin Tuna to Saving the World's Wetlands and Championing Sustainable Development Causes: Zayed International Prize Honours Top Environmentalists wo, mei 7, 2014

The Zayed International Prize for the Environment is the most prestigious and valuable international environmental award worldwide worth USD 1 million

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L-R: Paula Caballero Gomez, Director of Economic, Social and Environmental Affairs for Colombia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Luc Hoffman, former Director of Wetlands International and Vice-President of IUCN; Dr. Mohammed Ahmed Bin Fahad, Chairman of the Higher Committee of the Zayed Foundation; HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco; His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid Al Makhtoum -Vice President, Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai; Ashok Khosla, founder of the Development Alternatives group; Zakri Abdul Hamid, founding Chair of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and Klaus Toepfer, Former UNEP Executive Director

Dubai, 7 May 2014 - His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco was among those awarded the prestigious Zayed International Prize for the Environment Award in Dubai today.

A renowned conservationist and advocate for the earth's marine and polar environments, His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco was honoured for the prolific environmental work carried out by the Prince Albert II Foundation, which he founded in 2006 after traveling to the North Pole and witnessing the effects of climate change on the Arctic's weakening ice.

The Foundation has tackled a number of issues related to biodiversity, water security and energy efficiency. It took up the protection of the Bluefin tuna in 2008, and, as a result of its efforts, a moratorium on the fish has been implemented in Monaco - the world's first 'Bluefin tuna free' country.

Winners of the other two Zayed awards- the 2nd category for Scientific and or Technological Achievement in Environment and the 3rd for Environmental Action Leading to Positive Change in Society- were also awarded today.

The 2nd Category is jointly shared between:-

  • Dr. Ashok Khosla (India), Founder of the Development Alternatives group (DA), whose mission is to help make national development strategies in India more environmentally and socially sustainable.
  • Dr. Zakri Abdul Hamid (Malaysia), Co-Chair of the 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment report, he was instrumental in developing a number of the report's key findings, including the fact that humans have changed ecosystems more rapidly over the past 50 years than in any comparable period of human history.

The 3rd Category is jointly shared between:-

  • Paula Caballero Gómez (Colombia), Director of Economic, Social and Environmental Affairs for Colombia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Under her leadership, Colombia was an early proponent of the Sustainable Development Goals, which rapidly evolved as one of the most significant outcomes of the Rio+20 Summit.
  • Dr. Luc Hoffmann (Switzerland), a renowned ornithologist, was honoured for his work in philanthropy and the conservation of wetlands. He conducted some of the earliest studies of waterbird populations and wetland ecology.
  • The Zayed International Prize for the Environment was established in 1999 by UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to acknowledge the environmental commitment of the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

    It is the most prestigious and valuable international environmental award worldwide worth USD 1 million

    Previous Global Leadership winners include: Jimmy Carter, the former President of the United States, the British Broadcasting Corporation, Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway and former President Lee Myung-Bak, of the Republic of Korea.

    Former winners in the other categories include: Dr. Badria Al Awadhi, Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, Ms. Angela Cropper, Environment Development Action in the Third World, Prof. V. Ramanathan, Prof. Jane Lubchenco, Tierramérica, Dr. Mathis Wackernagel, Sir Partha Dasgupta.

    Category I: Global leadership in environment and sustainable development - USD 500,000

    His Serene Highness Albert II of Monaco was honoured by the jury for the prolific environmental work carried out by the Prince Albert II Foundation.

    Since its inception, the Foundation has supported more than 127 sustainable and ethical projects focusing on climate in locations as diverse as the Mediterranean Basin, Kenya, Mali, Indonesia and Brazil.

    Among other issues, it has also supported projects related to developing renewable energies; combating the loss of biodiversity; improving universal access to clean water; and fighting desertification.

    In 2008, the Foundation took up the protection of the Bluefin tuna, and, as a result of its efforts, a moratorium on the fish has been implemented in Monaco - the world's first 'Bluefin tuna free' country.

    In January 2009, Prince Albert II undertook a three-week scientific expedition to Antarctica where he visited 26 scientific outposts and met with climate change experts. During the trip he also visited at the South Pole.

    Prince Albert II served as International Patron of UNEP's 'Year of the Dolphin' (2007-2008). In 2009, he was awarded the Roger Revelle Prize by the Scripps Institute of Oceanography in La Jolla, California, for his efforts to protect the environment and promote scientific research.

    Category II: Scientific and/or Technological Achievement in Environment - USD 300,000

    Dr. Ashok Khosla

    A pioneer in the academic study of environmental issues, Dr. Khosla was recognized by the Zayed International Prize for his global leadership in advancing knowledge and practice on environmentally sustainable development approaches.

    Among other things, he has been a major thought leader on the importance of biodiversity and ecosystems to human well-being, and in the relationship between technology and policy. He has also been instrumental in building bridges between government and civil society.

    In the early 1960s, before the environment had become a prominent public issue, Dr. Khosla was a leading member of the team that designed and taught the first undergraduate course on the environment at Harvard University.

    He also became the founding director of the Government of India's Office of Environmental Planning and Coordination, the first national environmental agency in a developing country.

    In 1983, he founded the Development Alternatives group (DA) of organizations, whose mission is to help make national development strategies in India more environmentally and socially sustainable.

    DA's achievements include the introduction of more than 15 new environmentally sound and commercially viable technologies, such as machines for weaving handloom textiles, making recycled paper and fabricating low-cost roofing materials.

    The organization is also known for the creation of more than 300,000 sustainable jobs in India.

    The jury recognized Dr. Khosla's long-standing roles with UNEP, IUCN, the International Resource Panel, the International Institute for Sustainable Development, the World Bank and many other institutions.

    Dr. Zakri Abdul Hamid

    Dr. Hamid is a researcher, educator, administrator and diplomat spanning the science-policy interface.

    The Zayed International Prize recognized his wide-ranging contributions to the environmental and sustainable development agendas, including through his roles in the 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, the scientific subsidiary body of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies.

    As co-Chair of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment report - a ground-breaking study with over 2,000 individual authors - Dr. Hamid was instrumental in developing a number of the report's key findings.

    These included the conclusion that humans have changed ecosystems more rapidly over the past 50 years than in any comparable period of human history.

    Among other things, the milestone report found that approximately 20 per cent of the world's coral reefs were lost and an additional 20 per cent degraded in the last decades of the 20th century.

    At the national level, Dr. Hamid has worked closely with Malaysia's Global Science and Innovation Advisory Council and the National Professors Council. In 2010, he was appointed Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

    Most recently, he was a founding Chair of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and a member of the UN Secretary General's Scientific Advisory Board.

    Category III: Environmental Action Leading to Positive Change - USD 200,000

    Paula Caballero Gómez

    Paula Caballero Gómez - Director of Economic, Social and Environmental Affairs for Colombia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs - was recognized by the Zayed International Prize as having been instrumental in the early conceptualization and promotion of Sustainable Development Goals.

    Under her leadership, Colombia was an early proponent of the SDGs, which rapidly evolved as one of the most significant outcomes of the Rio+20 Summit.

    Through a joint proposal with the Government of Guatemala at Rio+20, Colombia noted that the SDGs "could provide a logical sequence and structure to the process launched almost 20 years ago" - at the first Rio Summit in 1992 - namely, the roadmap towards sustainable development.

    In 2012, the proposal said, the scientific, environmental and political communities were better equipped to identify goals, gaps and needs to provide a more structured implementation of the principles defined in 1992.

    During the Rio+20 Summit, Gómez presented her country's "Dashboard" approach to sustainable development. Through this concept, the post-2015 development agenda was designed around a "nucleus" of common global goals measured by a set of internationally agreed-on targets and indicators.

    The global goals would also be accompanied by more specific targets and indicators geared to national circumstances and priorities.

    In addition to her work during the Rio+20 Summit, the Zayed International Prize jury also considered Gómez's many contributions towards the national social and environmental affairs of Colombia.

    Dr. Luc Hoffmann

    Dr. Luc Hoffmann, an ornithologist and renowned philanthropist, was honoured for his work in the conservation of the world's wetlands. He conducted some of the earliest studies of waterbird populations and wetland ecology.

    Among other things, Dr. Hoffmann served as Director of Wetlands International and Vice-President of IUCN and established the Fondation Internationale du Banc d'Arguin in West Africa.

    He was a key figure in the original fight to save Spain's Coto Doñana wetland reserve and a driving force behind the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, the world's only international environmental treaty for a single biome.

    Dr. Hoffmann was also instrumental in establishing the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), which in the 1960s helped to successfully reintroduce the white rhino to several countries in East Africa.

    He also helped to set up key environmental foundations, including the Tour du Valat and MAVA, which funds nature conservation projects worldwide. These have played a critical role in global environmental and sustainable development.

    In addition, Dr. Hoffmann has authored more than 60 books and other publications on birds and their habitats.

    Notes to Editors

    The International Jury for the Sixth Cycle of Zayed Prize include: Prof. Klaus Toepfer (Chair), H.E. Dr. Rashid Ahmad Bin Fahad, Minister of Environment and Water, United Arab Emirates, H.E Mr. Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, Prof. Dr. Oktay Tabasaran, Secretary General of 5th World Water Forum and Prof. WU Siegfried Zhiqiang, Academician, IVA Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, Vice President, Tongji University.

    For More Information, Please Contact:

    Dr. Meshgan Al Awar, Secretary General Zayed International Prize for the Environment - Email: mail@zayedprize.org.ae, zayedprz@eim.ae, drmeshkan@yahoo.com, Mobile + 971 50 4537733. Or visit www.zayedprize.org.ae

     
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