Dr Annelisa Kilbourn, who died in a plane crash in Gabon last November while researching the link between the ebola virus and western lowland gorillas, has been posthumously elected to UNEP’s Global 500 Roll of Honour. The British scientist was one of eight individuals and organizations to be so honoured in 2003: the awards, given for outstanding contributions to the protection of the environment, were presented by Lebanon’s Minister of Environment, HE Mr Fares Boueiz, and Klaus Toepfer, UNEP’s Executive Director, at the World Environment Day ceremonies in Beirut on 5 June.

Dr Kilbourn’s work produced the first proof that gorillas are infected by the virus, and quickly die from it – information which may serve to protect the apes and humans alike. It followed a distinguished career in which she had both conducted the first research on the health of free-ranging orang-utangs in Sabah, Malaysia, and helped to protect the last remaining rhinos in Borneo. Her mother and sister received the award on her behalf.

Ms Rizwana Hasan collected the award on behalf of the Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA), a pioneer in public interest environmental litigation in a country where 60 per cent of the people are estimated to have no access to justice. BELA has so far filed 38 environmental cases, and won 12: the rest are pending.

Meanwhile Ms Fatima Belbachir was presented with this year’s only award in the Roll of Honour’s youth category, given to the young students of the Salle Pédagogique des Zones Arides in Beni Abbes in the southwest of the Algerian Sahara. The children set up an experimental lagoon system, combating pollution and increasing agricultural production.

The other new Global 500 laureates are Najib Saab of Lebanon, who launched the successful Al-Bia Wal-Tanmia (Environment and Development) magazine which helped to raise environmental awareness throughout the Arab region; Dr Bindeshwar Pathak of India, who developed an environmentally friendly lavatory, of which a million have now been built; Boureima Wankoye who introduced mass planting of gum arabic in Niger, generating income and helping to rehabilitate degraded land; the pioneering French environmentalist Serge Antoine; and the Women’s Environment Preservation Committee of Nepal, which collects and manages garbage in the town of Lalitpur.

Klaus Toepfer said that the winners were ‘members of a broad environmental movement that is flourishing around the world’.

Leonard Good was appointed to a three-year term as Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Global Environment Facility – the largest single source of funding for the global environment – by its Council in May 2003. Mr Good, a former President of the Canadian International Development Agency and twice the country’s Deputy Minister of the Environment, succeeds Mohamed El-Ashry, who has led the GEF since its establishment in 1991.

Mr Good said: ‘Coming generations will judge our stewardship of the environment not by the volumes said and written about it, but by what specific measures we have taken to sustain a healthy world’

Quadruple amputee Jamie Andrew, a Scottish mountaineer who lost both hands and feet to frostbite in 1999, has collected an award from the International Institute for Peace through Tourism for scaling several peaks in the Swiss Alps to highlight the importance of protecting mountain environments. His climb – with a team jointly supported by IUCN-The World Conservation Union and the International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation – also celebrated the success of the Swiss Government in achieving World Heritage status for the Jungfrau-Aletsch-Bietschhorn region and promoted the creation of transboundary protected areas, particularly the Siachen Glacier between India and Pakistan.

The environmental scientist, Prof Jacqueline McGlade – who holds both British and Canadian citizenship – has been appointed Executive Director of the European Environment Agency


This issue:
Contents | Editorial K. Töpfer | Biological backbone | Benefits beyond boundaries | Common inheritance | Beauty or beast? | Wonders of the world | Protecting heritage | People | Parks and participation | At a glance: Protected Areas | Profile: Harrison Ford | Scorecard, catalyst, watershed | Coral Reef Fund | Coral jewels | Reef knots | Brief window for biodiversity | Books & products | Conservation amid conflict | News | Green, red or black? | Keeping faith with nature | Make parks not war

Complementary articles in other issues:
Issue on WSSD, 2002
Issue on Biological Diversity, 2000
Issue on Culture, Values and the Environment, 1996

AAAS Atlas of Population and Environment: