Kofi Annan, the United Nations Secretary General will be visiting Dubai to receive the world’s, most prestigious environment prize - the Zayed International Prize for the Environment which will be awarded at a special ceremony on February 6th.
The Zayed Prize International Jury was unanimous in their decision to award Mr Annan the 2005 Prize for Global Leadership for the Environment.
The 2nd 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 3rd Category Award - Environmental Action Leading to Positive Change in Society - is jointly shared between Ms. Angela Cropper, co-President of the Cropper Foundation of Trinidad and Tobago and Mr. Emil Salim, the former Indonesian State Minister for Population and the Environment and the 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, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to acknowledge the environmental commitment of the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
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, the 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 say 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 Mr Kofi Annan”.
They note the various reports, requested by the UN 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,” adds the jury.
Category II: Scientific and/or Technological Achievement in Environment
In their citation the International Jury says 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,” add the jury.
They add that the Assessment is not only a remarkable scientific achievement. But one that is “commanding political attention while shaping the environmental agenda of the 21st 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. Salem's attached summary of achievements).
"The Zayed Prize Secretariat received over 80 nominations from all 5 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. 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 Salem to push for more sustainable life on Earth", concluded 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 endeavors to promote Sustainable Development. This foundation has held so many functions during the second cycle.