Dubai: The Zayed International Prize for Environment and its local, regional and international achievements reflects the leadership's commitment and role in protecting environment and achieving the UN objectives for the third millennium, Dr Rashid Ahmad Bin Fahd, Minister of Environment and Water, said.
Dr Fahd spoke as the winners of the prestigious award's fifth cycle were announced at a press conference held on Wednesday.
A statement from the awards committee said the winners were selected as their achievements fulfilled the objectives of the Zayed Prize, in line with the philosophy of the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan and the vision of the His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the founder and patron of the prize.
The prize is valued at $1 million, divided into three categories: the Zayed Prize for Global leadership in environment, the Zayed Prize for Scientific and technological achievements in environment, and Zayed Prize for Environmental action leading to positive change in society.
Dr Habib Al Habr, Regional Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, described the prize as the most important environmental award given to champions and pioneers in this field.
"UNEP, as the conscious of the world in terms of environment, is proud to be associated with this award and we will continue to be associated and work hand in hand with our colleagues to promote this award at a global level," Dr Al Habr said.
Dr Mohammad Bin Fahd, Chairman of the Prize, said the award's focus in its fifth cycle was green economy, because the entire world was striving to achieve sustainable development.
"The prize is named after the late Shaikh Zayed, who showed care for the environment long before it became a global issue, and this award represents Shaikh Zayed's philosophy," he said.
"The UAE had always been keen to fulfil its global obligations and is found contributing in times of disasters and international forums and initiatives. It is the UAE's duty, which represents its identity as a global leader."
The winners of the Fifth Zayed International Prize for Environment are:
President Lee Myung-bak of the Republic of Korea won the Zayed Prize for Global leadership in environment. In the midst of the recent economic and financial crisis Lee Myung-bak, President of the Republic of Korea, seized the moment to commit his country to "Green Growth," a new paradigm for economic development that binds together environment protection and economic prosperity, creating new growth engines and jobs through green technology and clean energy. Myung-bak's vision and leadership was a central driver in transforming the Republic of Korea's development path into a low carbon, resource efficient, and Green Economy.
Sir Partha Dasgupta won the Zayed Prize for Scientific and technological achievements in environment. Sir Partha is the Frank Ramsey Professor of Economics at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom and one of the most outstanding environmental economists of his generation. An Indian national, he has been one of the leading economists making the link between sustainability and economics in many ways well before such work was fashionable or fully understood.
Sir Partha coined the term "inclusive wealth" to spotlight the way conventional measures of wealth — primarily GDP — fail to capture natural capital or environmental assets.
Dr Mathis Wackernagel and Professor Najib Saab from Lebanon shared the Zayed Prize for Environmental action leading to positive change in society.
Dr Wackernagel has, through the co-founding of the Global Footprint Network (GFN) in 2003, translated the complexity of humanity's impact on the environment and natural resources into a more understandable and actionable form.
The concept of ecological limits and relating the demands of human beings to the planet's available ecological resources has attracted and is catalysing action among governments, business and civil society.
Under Swiss-born Dr Wackernagel's leadership, the Footprint is now recognised as a leading and highly comprehensible indicator of sustainability.
Professor Najib Saab founded the groundbreaking and highly successful Al-Bia Wal-Tanmia (Environment and Development) magazine in 1996. The magazine triggered unprecedented environmental awareness at all levels, built a new relationship between the policy-makers and people of the Arab world with the issues of environment and sustainability, and placed the environment high on national and regional agendas.
The magazine and Professor Saab's vision also acted as a spring board for a wider pan-Arab initiative which catalysed in 2006 the establishment of the Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED).
The winners will be honoured by Shaikh Mohammad at a special Award Ceremony on March 14, 2011 at Dubai International Convention Center.
The ceremony will be attended by Environment Ministers from around the world, heads of regional and international organisations, Gulf dignitaries and international media; in addition to the Jury and Technical Advisory Committee members. Several publications will be distributed during the ceremony including a special issue of the Society and Environment Magazine (Arabic and English), an Arabic-refereed book on environmental planning and the Zayed Prize Nomination Guide for the sixth cycle.