International Prize Honors Environmentalists

Sustainability, Conservationist Leaders Earn Awards

Prince Albert II of Monaco was among those who earned 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, Prince Albert II of Monaco was honored 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.

Zayed International Prize

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.

reforestation and carbon capture

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.

deforestation and climate change

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. 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.


climate change and deforestation

Sacred Seedlings is a global initiative to support forest conservation, reforestation, urban forestry, carbon capture, sustainable agriculture and wildlife conservation. Sustainable land management and land use are critical to the survival of entire ecosystems.

Sacred Seedlings is a U.S.-based program that supports the vision of local stakeholders. We have projects ready across Africa. We seek additional projects elsewhere around the world. We also seek volunteers, sponsors and donors of cash and in-kind support. Write to Gary Chandler for more information