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Zayed International Prize for Environment annonced

May 19, 2008 - 09:08 -

WAM Dubai, May 19th, 2008 (WAM): HE Dr. Rashid Ahmed bin Fahd, Minister of Environment and Water announced today the winners of the Zayed International Prize for Environment in its fourth cycle. Dr. Klaus Topfer, former Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme and the chairman of the international jury for the Zayed Prize, and Dr. Habib Al Hibr, regional Director for the UN Environment Programme were present.

Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland of Norway won the Zayed Prize for Global leadership in environment.

Dr. Brundtland is a Norwegian politician, diplomat and physician and an international leader in sustainable development and public health. She is a former Prime Minister of Norway and has served as the Director General of the World Health Organization. She now serves as a Special Envoy on Climate Change for the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon.

She was Chair of the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED), widely referred to as the Brundtland Commission, developing the broad political concept of sustainable development in the course of extensive public hearings that were distinguished by their inclusiveness and published its report Our Common Future in April 1987. The Brundtland Commission provided the momentum for the 1992 Earth Summit/UNCED and for the Agenda 21.

Dr. Brundtland was elected Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) in May 1998. In this capacity, She adopted a far-reaching approach to public health, establishing a Commission on Macroeconomics and Health, and addressing violence as a major public health issue. She spearheaded the movement, now worldwide, to achieve the abolition of cigarette smoking by education and persuasion.

Under her leadership, WHO was one of the first major employers to require freedom from tobacco addiction as a condition for employment. Dr. Brundtland was recognized in 2003 by Scientific American as their Policy Leader of the Year for coordination a rapid worldwide response to stem outbreaks of SARS. In 1994, Dr. Brundtland was awarded the Charlemagne Prize of the City of Aachen.

In 2004 the British newspaper, The Financial Times, listed her as the 4th most influential European over the last 25 years, behind Pope John Paul II, Mikhail Gorbachev and Margaret Thatcher.

In May 2007, the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon named Dr. Brundtland, as well as Ricardo Lagos (the former president of Chile), and Han Seung-soo (the former Minister of South Korea), to serve as UN Special Envoys for Climate Change.

Professors Jane Lubchenco from the United States of America and V. Ramanathan from India shared the Zayed Prize for Scientific and technological achievements in environment .

Prof. Jane Lubchenco is a world leader in environmental sciences. She discovered fundamental ecological and evolutionary relationships among animals and plants in complex coastal systems. She has studied the effect of aquaculture on world fish supplies and how biotic and abiotic local interactions can have a strong influence on the large-scale properties of ecosystems. Her recent work has shown how coastal oceanographic features can affect local community structure and dynamics. Such studies have led to a general understanding of factors affecting the distribution abundance and biodiversity of species. Author of several Citation Classics papers, she is a fellow of the US National Academy of Sciences, American Philosophical Society, and European Academy of Sciences, TWAS, and the Royal Society of the UK.

Prof. V. Ramanathan is among the most distinguished climatologists in the world. He identified the famous chlorofluorocarbons, stratospheric ozone and other pollutants as significant factors in the anthropogenic greenhouse effect (man made factors leading to global warming). He also demonstrated the positive amplifying effect of water vapor absorption on global warming, the global cooling effects of clouds on climate. More recently, he made significant contributions to the discovery of the widespread Atmospheric Brown Clouds (ABC) phenomenon. He showed that soot in the clouds led to a reduction in the solar radiation at the ocean surface, heating of the atmosphere and regional climate changed in South Asia. He is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, The Academy of Sciences for Developing Countries (TWAS), and the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. For his outstanding contribution to the environment he received the Rosby Award and the Volvo Prize.

Zayed Prize for Environmental action leading to positive change in society was awarded to two Non-Governmental Organizations. The two NGOs are Environment Development Action in the Third World (ENDA) in Senegal and Tierramrica in Latin America.

Environment Development Action in the Third World was established in the Senegal in 1972. For more than 30 years it has demonstrated success in improving the environment and people's lives throughout the Continent of Africa. It has successfully transferred leadership through three generations of excellent leaders.

ENDA has established itself as one of the leading sustainable development organizations in the world. It is a member of RING, the world network of leading sustainable development organizations.

ENDA has a positive impact at local, national and regional levels. Working with the poorest of the poor in rural and urban areas, ENDA has achieved great success under very difficult circumstances. It is one of the very few successful pan-African Environment and Development Organizations that works throughout Francophone and Anglophone Africa and in North Africa.

ENDA is highly regarded by national governments and by the international community for its rigor in "research-action-learning", development impact, financial accountability and transparency. It is successful in a range of projects and activities from environmental action research, combating desertification, sustainable energy, working with women, youth and children, education training and awareness programs, and grassroots community self-help programs.

Tierramrica is a specialized information service on Environment and Development, produced by the international news agency, Inter Press Service (IPS). It is sponsored by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and The World Bank (WB). The Tierramrica Administrative Board includes the UNEP, UNDP, WB and IPS.

The history of Tierramrica began in 1995. In its first phase the project produced a bi-monthly supplement distributed by 12 newspapers in 11 countries, achieving a circulation of one million. With its attractive design, Tierramrica received the award for excellence of The Society of Newspaper Design in 1996. Since 2000, the weekly print edition of Tierramrica is published in newspapers and magazines in Belize, Brazil, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, United States, Uruguay and Venezuela. Today, the general and technology headquarters located in Uruguay, while editorial coordination is based in Mexico, with Internet, radio and Portuguese edition based in Chile, Venezuela and Brazil, respectively. The multimedia presence of Tierramrica includes a weekly page published in a network of 20 newspapers and selected news broadcast by 400 radio stations in 10 countries throughout Latin America. Tierramrica news, reports and interviews are published weekly on its website in Spanish, English and Portuguese.

Tierramrica serves as a space for debate, drawing a wide range of social actors from Latin America and the world. Its editorial board includes Carlos Fuentes, Jos Roberto Marinho, Rigoberta Mench, Maurice Strong, Elena Poniatowska and C'sar Gaviria, among other personalities.

A statement from the Award committee said that the Jury decided that their achievements do fulfill the objectives of the Zayed Prize, in line with the philosophy of the late Sheikh Zayed and the vision of the H.H. the Patron, and they are worth the award.

The winners will be honored by the Patron, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum at a special Award Ceremony on June 9th 2008 at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel. The Ceremony will be attended by Environment Ministers from different parts of the world, heads of regional and international organizations, Gulf dignitaries and international media; in addition to the Jury and Technical Advisory Committee members. Several publications will be distributed during the ceremony including the Society and Environment Magazine in its new look, an Arabic refereed book on 'Environmental Planning' and the Zayed Prize Nomination Guide for the 5th Cycle.

The ceremony will be preceded by the 'Dubai International Conference on Sustainable Construction' and exhibition on Green Construction Technology to be held on June 8th 2008 at the Dubai Police Academy. The conference will be opened by the Chairman of the Higher Committee, Dr. Mohamed Bin Fahad and the Chairman of the International Jury, Dr. Klaus Topfer. The conference is a one day, three panels meeting which will be addressed by 13 speakers, mainly from the Private Sector.

WAM/AB