ENVIRONMENTAL VISIONARY, ASHOK KHOSLA, PRESENTED WITH UNEP PRIZE AT GALA CEREMONY IN NEW YORK

NEW YORK, 19 November 2002 - Klaus Toepfer, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), called him a legend in the realm of sustainable development and an individual who personifies the hopes and dreams of billions trapped in the indignity of acute depravation.

Dr. Khosla, who was presented with the $200,000 award at an evening gala at the American Folk Art Museum in New York City, 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".

"By providing holistic solutions to development questions which are rooted in improving people's livelihoods, and by showing how bridges can be built between civil society, government and business, Dr. Khosla has made a major contribution to charting a path towards a sustainable future, not just for the people of India, but worldwide", said UN Under-Secretary-General Iqbal Riza, upon presenting the Award on behalf of Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

"Dr. Khosla's promotion of environmental research, impact assessments and management plans not only helped the Government and people of India to address the environmental issues of a developing economy", said Mr. Toepfer. "It helped bring some of the root causes of environmental problems - such as imbalances in global trade - onto the international agenda."

The prize monies will be used by Dr. Khosla to sustain the activities of Development Alternatives and TARAhaat.com -- the Internet portal for rural India -- and help pave the way for their replication in other parts of the developing world.

"His generosity as well as the ingenuity of his vision has made Dr. Khosla a worthy addition to the distinguished list of UNEP Sasakawa Environment Prize laureates", said Mr. Toepfer.

The evening's keynote address - the annual Pastrana Borrero Lecture - was delivered by Mr. Jan Pronk, former Minister for the Environment of the Netherlands and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General to the World Summit on Sustainable Development. Mr. Pronk spoke on the theme of "Security and Sustainability", exploring why the Johannesburg Summit did not meet the expectations of so many. He called for a new vision of security and sustainability that "implies mutual trust that justice will be maintained and secured for all people, without any discrimination"

Note to Editors:

The UNEP Sasakawa Environment Prize, sponsored by the Nippon Foundation and founded by the late Mr. Ryoichi Sasakawa, has been awarded annually since 1984 to individuals who have made outstanding global contributions to the management and protection of the environment.

Past winners include: Nobel laureate, Professor Mario J. Molina for discovering a new reaction sequence involving chlorine peroxide, which accounts for most of the ozone destruction in the Antarctic; Chico Mendes, the rubber tapper from Brazil who died leading the fight against cattle ranchers' destruction of the rainforest; Lester Brown, former Director of the Worldwatch Institute, whose writings were instrumental in alerting the world about the threats to the biosphere; Dr. M. S. Swaminathan of India, father of the economic ecology movement; and Ian Kiernan of Australia, founder of the Clean Up the World campaign in which more than 120 countries participate.

For more information, please contact: Eric Falt, Director/Spokesman UNEP Division of Communications and Public Information, on Tel: +254-2-623292, e-mail: eric.falt@unep.org or Jim Sniffen, UNEP Information Officer, in New York, on Tel: +1-212-963-8094, , 1-917-742-2218, e-mail: sniffenj@un.org

For more information on the Sasakawa Environment Prize and complete texts of all of this evening's remarks, please visit the UNEP website at www.unep.org/saskawa2


 

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