Executive Director of UNEP, Klaus Toepfer (left), presenting the 2002 UNEP Sasakawa Environment Prize to winner Dr. Ashok Khosla, the President of Development Alternatives, New Delhi.

Dr. Ashok Khosla, who has created jobs for thousands of poor people in India, has been awarded the 2002 UNEP Sasakawa Environment Prize. The President of Development Alternatives – a group of organizations based in New Delhi, which he founded in 1983 – he won the $200,000 prize award for innovating and fostering environmentally friendly, commercially viable technologies across the country. They include village power plants fuelled by agricultural wastes, small factories for recycling paper, and local businesses making low-cost roofing.

The prize, sponsored by the Nippon Foundation and founded by the late Mr. Ryoichi Sasakawa, has been awarded every year since 1984 to individuals who have made outstanding global contributions to the management and protection of the environment. Dr. Khosla is to use the prize money to further the work to sustain the activities of Development Alternatives and of – an Internet portal for rural India – and to help pave the way for replicating them in other parts of the developing world.

Klaus Toepfer, Executive Director of UNEP, describes Dr. Khosla as a legend in the realm of sustainable development, personifying the hopes and dreams of billions trapped in the indignity of acute deprivation. He said that the organizations he had created offered ‘pragmatic, sensible and life-changing solutions’.

Receiving the award at an evening gala at the American Folk Art Museum in New York City in November 2002, Dr. Khosla said that sustainable development cannot be achieved by ‘economic policies that only nurture big, centralized, transportation-intensive, energy-guzzling, resource-wasting production systems: it also needs local-level innovation’.

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has appointed Eveline Herfkens, former Netherlands Minister for Development Cooperation, to act as his Executive Coordinator for the Millennium Development Goals Campaign. She will work closely with Mark Malloch Brown, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, to promote the Goals by helping to spread awareness of them, and by building new coalitions for action to achieve them, in both developed and developing countries. Mr. Annan said: ‘Ms. Herfkens has shown outstanding leadership over the past few years in helping bring the Millennium Development Goals to the forefront of the global development agenda, and I am confident that she will now play a key role in galvanizing action from grassroots to governments in achieving them’.

Oscar Olivera of Bolivia, winner of the 2001 Goldman Prize for South America, has devoted his $125,000 prize money to founding a new NGO, Fundación Abril, to promote research, education, training and technical skills geared towards expanding ‘economic democracy’. He said: ‘We do this so that people will be better able to participate in the use, management and exploitation of public resources such as water, education, health, land, work and dignity’.

Mohamed T. El-Ashry has announced that he will step down as Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) when his third term ends in July 2003. Under his leadership the GEF has grown from a pilot programme to the largest single source of funding for the global environment, with 173 member countries.

Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Executive Director of UNEP 1993-1998, has been appointed President of Canada’s new Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) which, after a three-year study and a public consultation process, is to put forward a recommended plan to the federal government for the long-term management of used nuclear fuel. Richard Dicerni, Chair of the NWMOs Board of Directors said: ‘Ms. Dowdeswell’s record of championing sustainable development in Canada and at the United Nations uniquely qualifies her to head up this important new organization’.

Executive Director of UNEP, Klaus Toepfer, has been honoured with the 2002 Bruno H. Schubert Environment Prize and the German Environment Prize – held to be the most prestigious such prize in Europe – jointly with Dr. Peter Lüth, a pioneer of biological pesticides.

FOTOS: UNEP, UN, Goldman Environmental Foundation, GEF

This issue:
Contents | Editorial K. Toepfer | Looking through new lenses | Development with a human face | Trade can transform | Achieving win–win–win | People | Promises to keep | As precious as gold | Expanding the circle | At a glance: Globalization, poverty, trade and the environment | Acting local | Cooperation is catching | Books & products | Getting through the bottleneck | Investing in the environment | Bishkek Mountain Platform | You can’t breathe money | We will succeed | Fair trade? Fair question