Press Releases

    ENV/DEV/878
    20 December 2005

    International Jury Awards Secretary-General Top Zayed Prize for Global Environmental Leadership

    Caribbean, Indonesian Campaigners also Scoop Green Prizes

         

    DUBAI, 19 December (UNEP) -- The global winner of one of, if not the world's, most prestigious environment prizes was announced today as Kofi Annan, the United Nations Secretary- General.

    The Zayed Prize International Jury were unanimous in their decision to award Mr. Annan the 2005 Prize for Global Leadership for the Environment.

    Winners of the two other Zayed awards -- Scientific and or Technological Achievement in Environment and Environmental Action Leading to Positive Change in Society -- were also announced today.

    The Second Category Award -- Scientific and or Technological Achievement in Environment -- has been won by the 1,360 experts of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, which has catalogued the condition of the globe's ecosystems and their life-giving services.

    The Third Category Award -- Environmental Action Leading to Positive Change in Society -- is shared by Angela Cropper, co-President of the Cropper Foundation of Trinidad and Tobago, and Emil Salim, the former Indonesian State Minister for Population and the Environment and Chair of the board of trustees for numerous Indonesian environmental organizations.

    The Zayed International Prize for the Environment was established by Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and United Arab Emirates Minister of Defence, to acknowledge the environmental commitment of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahayan.  It is worth $1 million and is considered among the most prestigious environment-related awards in the world.

    Previous Global Leadership winners have been Jimmy Carter, former President of the United States, and the British Broadcasting Corporation for their global media commitment to environment and sustainable development issues.

    Category I: Global Leadership for the Environment

    In their citation, the International Jury says that "one person has done more than most to catalyze political and public opinion to an understanding that the environment is a fundamental pillar of sustainable development.  That person is Kofi Annan."

    They note the various reports requested by the Secretary-General in the run-up to the 2005 World Summit in New York, including A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility" and "In Larger Freedom.

    The Zayed Prize Jury also noted the personal leadership of the Secretary-General at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002 in South Africa that addressed the Water, Energy, Health, Agriculture and Biodiversity (WEHAB) themes. 

    "Five years ago, recognizing the potential threat that environmental degradation posed for people around the world, Mr. Annan also called for the first-ever international scientific assessment of the health of the world's ecosystems", says the citation.  The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment reported in 2005, again in the run up to last September's World Summit.

    "Mr. Annan has emphasized the importance of the multilateral system in all facets of his work, convinced that global environmental challenges require global cooperation", the Jury added.

    Category II: Scientific and/or Technological Achievement in Environment

    In their citation the, International Jury said that the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, the work of 1,360 experts from 95 countries, is a "landmark study on the condition of the world's ecosystem services from fisheries and freshwaters up to the carbon capture of the world's forests".

    "It also underlines the economic importance of natural or nature's capital and demonstrates that the degradation of ecosystems is progressing at an alarming and unsustainable rate", the Jury added.

    They added that the Assessment is not only a remarkable scientific achievement, but one that is "commanding political attention while shaping the environmental agenda of the twenty-first century, especially in the challenging area of ensuring nature's capital is given real value alongside financial and human capital".

    Category III: Environmental Action Leading to Positive Change in Society

    Angela Cropper, a co-winner, is President of the Cropper Foundation and also a co-chair of the Assessment Panel of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (see Mrs. Cropper's attached summary of achievements).

    Emil Salim, the other co-winner, is the former Indonesian State Minister for Population and the Environment and the chair of the board of trustees for numerous Indonesian environmental organizations (see Prof. Salim's attached summary of achievements).

    "The Zayed Prize Secretariat received over 80 nominations from all five continents.  These were short-listed by the International Technical Advisory Committee and then went into final selection by the International Jury before taking the recommendations to the patron, H.H. General Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid al Maktoum, for final approval", stated Dr. Mohamed A. bin Fahad, Chairman of the Zayed Prize Higher Committee.  He added that the Zayed Prize Higher Committee hopes that the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment will use the granted award money to disseminate the great achievements and make them available to all world communities and policy makers.  "The HC is also hopeful that this award will be an incentive to Mr. Annan, Mrs. Cropper and Professor Salim to push for more sustainable life on Earth", closed Dr. bin Fahad.

    Klaus Toepfer, Chair of the Jury and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), said:  "The Jury was faced with many outstanding candidates for the Zayed Prizes.  But when you look at the overall global impact on politics, business, science and civil society of Mr. Annan's environment and sustainable development-related initiatives, we came to the conclusion he is deservedly the global winner."

    "The winners of the other two categories are also outstanding in their own right and we will be delighted to welcome them in Dubai on 6 February 2006, for the Third Award Ceremony", he added.

    It is worth mentioning that the Zayed International Prize for the Environment continues to develop and refine its endeavours to promote sustainable development.  In that connection, the Foundation has held many functions during the second Cycle:

    -- The Second Festival of the Cultures and Civilizations of World Deserts was held in April 2005 and was attended by two Heads of States -- the Presidents of Algeria and South Africa, in addition to over 40 Ministers of Environment, Culture and Tourism.  It was a great success and was mainly tuned towards environmental issues.

    -- The Arab Regional Workshop on "Harnessing Science and Technology for Sustainable Development".

    -- Workshops on "Water Resources Management", "Biodiversity" and "Environmental Information".

    -- Just this month, the Zayed Prize organized a conference on "Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Economy" in collaboration with private enterprises in order to encourage transfer of clean energy technology to the region.

    The Foundation continues to publish the simplified monthly booklet series for school children, the monthly Magazine "Environment and Society" in Arabic and English and the refereed quarterly book series, "The World of the Environment" in Arabic.  The fourth book issued last month was titled, "Clean Agriculture".

    The Zayed International Prize for the Environment is awarded every two years.  It was first awarded in 2001.

    The International Jury for the 2005 awards is chaired by Dr. Klaus Toepfer, Executive Director of UNEP.  Other members are Mr. Achim Steiner, Director General of IUCN-the World Conservation Union; Prof. Mostafa Tolba, President of the International Environment and Development Centre; Yolanda Kakabadse, former IUCN President and Zayed Prize Laureate; Sir David King, Chief Scientist of the Government of the United Kingdom; Prof. Mario Molina, a winner of the 1995 Nobel Prize for Chemistry; and Yoriko Kawaguchi, the former Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs.  The United Arab Emirates is represented in the International Jury by H.E. Mr. Hanad A. Al Midfaa, Minister of Health and Chairman of the Federal Environmental Agency Board.

    Ms. Cropper's visionary leadership and selfless public service were recognized by the jury to have catalyzed numerous activities for equity, peace and sustainable development at both international and local levels.

    As co-founder and President of the Cropper Foundation, a not-for-profit charitable organization committed to sustainable development, Ms. Cropper has inspired activities in public policy, environmental education, and social justice within her own country of Trinidad and Tobago, and throughout the Caribbean region.

    Ms. Cropper started her professional career as an economist, but her talents for promoting the integration of environment and development and the equitable use of natural resources have involved her in many high level processes at the cutting edge of sustainable development.

    As head of Governance in IUCN -- The World Conservation Union, she developed a strategic plan which sought to integrate its conservation and development components.

    As interim Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, she helped establish the Secretariat and organized the early stages of this important Convention enshrining respect for both people and nature.

    Under her guidance as senior Advisor on Environment and Development to the United Nations Development Programme at its Headquarters, she assisted UNDP to bring environmental issues more fully into its development portfolio

    Ms. Cropper also co-chaired the Assessment Panel of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA), and also led two sub-global assessments on the Northern Range in Trinidad and the Caribbean Sea.  She continues to disseminate the findings and represent the MEA in many events.

    Among many of her special interests is sustainable forest management.  She is Chair of the Board of Trustees of CIFOR (Centre of International Forestry Research), and was a member of the World Commission on Forests and Sustainable Development, and Editor of the Commission's Report.  She has recently been appointed a McClusky Fellow, and will join the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies in spring 2006.

    Among her many public appointments Ms. Cropper continues to play a leading role in sustainable development within the Caribbean region.  She was recently appointed an Independent Senator in the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago, where she now contributes to the legislative aspects of her country's development.

    Her enthusiastic and tireless service for environmental action leading to positive change in society, at both global and local levels, provides an exceptional role model and is justly recognized by the Zayed Prize.

    Mr. Salim has had a distinguished career in public service, including as Minister of State for Administrative Reform; Vice-Chairman of the National Planning Board, Minister of Transportation, Communication and Tourism; Minister of State for Development Supervision and the Environment; and Minister of State for Population and the Environment.

    As Indonesia's First Minister of Environment, he served as an inspiration to many new conservation initiatives in Indonesia, and helped to ensure that the environment was incorporated in development decisions.

    He earned his PhD from the University of California at Berkeley, in Economics.  He has been a Professor of Economics at the University of Indonesia since 1972 and a lecturer at the Army Command Staff School from 1966 to the present, influencing hundreds of Indonesians who have gone on to high leadership positions.  He has served as a member of the People's Consultative Assembly from 1966, helping to influence public policy. 

    In addition to his public service at the national level, he served as President of the UNEP Governing Council from 1985 to 1987, and as Co-Chair of the World Commission on Environment and Development (1984-1987).  In the latter post, he helped to write the influential report, Our Common Future.

    He chaired the Preparatory Committee for the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development, which was the leading environmental event of this century.  His international diplomacy helped to guide delicate international negotiations to a successful conclusion.

    He was appointed by the World Bank to lead its Extractive Industries Review, which involved a long process of public consultation with a wide range of stakeholders affected by extractive industries.  His final report details the problems of extractive industries and how they might best be addressed.

    Other significant contributions he has made to the environment include Board membership of the International Institute on Environment and Development and the Stockholm Environment Institute.  He has also served as a member of the World Health Organization's Health and Environment Commission, and as a member of the United Nations High Level Advisory Board on Sustainable Development.

    Professor Salim has shown by his actions how solid science and effective negotiating skills can lead to positive change in the environment.  The entire concept of sustainable development was given significant impetus through his work on the World Commission on Environment and Development, and his driving the agenda of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development, helped to define the development agenda for the early twenty-first century.  His many achievements well justify his receiving the Zayed International Prize for the Environment.

    For more information, please contact:  Dr. Meshgan Mohamed Al Awar, Secretary-General and member of the Zayed Prize's Higher Committee, tel:  +97-1433-26666, e-mail:  drmeshkan@yahoo.com , Web:  www.zayedprize.org.ae ; or Nick Nuttall, UNEP Spokesperson, tel:  +254-20-623084, mobile:  +254-733-632755, e-mail:  nick.nuttall@unep.org  

    * *** *