Al Gore, International Olympic Committee among UN Champions of the Earth laureates
The 2007 laureates, from each of the world’s regions, will be presented with their awards at a special ceremony in Singapore on 19 April for achievements ranging from chemical safety, sustainable waste management and the greening of sporting events to the conservation of deserts, rainforests and the global climate.
The seven new Champions announced by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) are:
- Algerian Environment Minister Cherif Rahmani (Africa) for advancing environmental law, including model financial and economic instruments aimed at promoting a tax system based on the ‘polluter pays’ principle, as well as seeking to improve global environment by reducing greenhouse gases that affect climate change.
- Philippines’ Environment Secretary Elisea “Bebet” Gillera Gozun (Asia and Pacific) for her leadership in World Bank projects that have resulted in tangible results such as the introduction of pollution charges for industrial effluents and her efforts to involve local urban communities, the private sector and local governments in projects such as community-based waste recovery, recycling and reuse.
- Swedish Environmental Ambassador Viveka Bohn (Europe) for her prominent role in multilateral negotiations, including environmental treaties such as the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs).
- Brazilian Environment Minister Marina Silva (Latin America and Caribbean) for her tireless fight for the protection of the Amazon rainforest, where she has made a “remarkable” contribution to preserving the biologically diverse, complex and rich region with deforestation estimated to have decreased by more than 50 per cent in the last two years.
- Former US Vice President Al Gore (North America) for a career-long campaign to protect the environment, including his congressional efforts to clean up toxic dumps that led to the formation of the Superfund as well as his more recent battle against climate change as exemplified by his critically-acclaimed documentary An Inconvenient Truth.
- Jordanian Prince El Hassan Bin Talal (West Asia) for his holistic approach manner, in particular, his belief in trans-boundary collaboration as well as his actions in the field of environmental management and protection, specifically water quality management.
- The IOC and its President Jacques Rogge (UNEP Special Prize) for his important role in developing the sport and environment agenda, introducing stringent environmental conditions for cities bidding to host Olympic Games that require a comprehensive environmental programme, such as this year’s Torino Winter Games widely hailed as the greenest ever.
The announcement came ahead of UNEP’s annual gathering of environment ministers next week at its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. The risks and opportunities of globalization, in relation to environmental issues, will be high on the agenda.
“Steering globalization onto a more intelligent and sustainable trajectory requires the commitment of Governments, the private sector, local authorities and civil society, but it also needs individuals capable of catalyzing change, empowering others and inspiring action,” UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said.
“The men and women we are recognizing today are indeed role models who have committed themselves to realizing a more just, equitable and sustainable world – proof, if proof is needed, that globalization can be sustainably managed if we harness the intelligence, energy and vision so self evident in these Champions of the Earth 2007,” he added.