Kofi Annan, the United Nations Secretary-General, and William K. Reilly, Chairman of the Board of the World Wildlife Fund, United States, addressed the prizegiving ceremony for the 2003 Sasakawa Prize in New York in November.

The prize was presented to the joint winners – Xie Zhenhua, Minister, State Environmental Protection Administration of China, and Dener Giovanini, who created Brazil’s National Network for Combating Wild Animal Trafficking – by Klaus Toepfer, UNEP’s Executive Director, and Shuichi Ohno, Director of International Affairs at the Nippon Foundation, the sponsors of the Prize.

Mr Annan said that Mr Xie had ‘shown great zeal and imagination in promoting the concept of sustainable development in China’ and that ‘Mr Giovanini’s work to combat illegal wildlife trafficking not only benefits the embattled Amazon Basin, but helps to address the causes and impact of rural poverty, one of the main threats to this precious resource’. Klaus Toepfer said that Lord Clinton-Davis, the Chairman of the Prize’s selection committee, and his colleagues, by selecting the two winners, had ‘sent out an important message, that both government and civil society have a crucial role to play as partners in safeguarding the environment’.

Delivering the Pastrana Borrero lecture, Mr Reilly, who was President George H. W. Bush’s Administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency 1989-1993, called for greater priority to be given to protecting the oceans, ‘a resource that is hugely important, seriously threatened and largely ignored by policy makers’.

The Patriarch of Antioch and head of the Maronite Church, His Beatitude Mar Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir, is calling on the Lebanese Government to join him in giving the Holy Valley of Qadisha the status of a National Park. The valley both provided inspiration to the church’s early hermits and provided the Patriarchate with safety and sustainability in times of persecution. The Church has undertaken to protect the land it owns in the valley and has named it the Maronite Protected Environment of Qadisha. Last autumn the Patriarch had talks in London on the future of the valley with HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, former international president of WWF.

The Citizen’s Coalition for Economic Justice of the Republic of Korea was one of four winners of the 2003 Right Livelihood Awards, presented in the Swedish parliament in December. The Coalition is a citizen’s movement working for economic justice, environmental protection, democratic and social development and reunification of the Korean peninsula. Among its achievements, since its foundation in 1989, it has campaigned successfully for a law to prevent rampant property speculation, established the Right Farming Co-operative – a network of organic farmers – and set up the Urban Reform Centre which carries out a public education programme to create sustainable cities.

The other winners were: Dr Ibrahim Abouleish and the organic agriculture enterprise, SEKEM, which he founded; and Nicanor Perlas, of the Philippines – who has campaigned effectively against the abuse of pesticides and for integrated pest management – and his fellow countryman Walden Bello, the anti-globalization thinker and activist.

David Lange, the former Prime Minister of New Zealand, was given an honorary award for ‘his steadfast work over many years for a world free of nuclear weapons’.

PHOTOGRAPHS: UNEP, John Smith/CIRCA Photo Library, Karl Gabor, Stockholm

This issue:
Contents | Editorial K. Töpfer | Action for tomorrow | Turning words into action | One hand washes the other | People | Fragile resource | Realizing the dream | Washing away poverty | At a glance: Water and sanitation | Music makes magic – Angélique Kidjo | Targeting sanitation | In a city like Mumbai | Flowing from the bottom up | Books & products | Watering a thirsty land | Peace through parks | Reaching the unheard