Press Releases - May 2003 - Boureima Wankoye of Niger to Receive United Nations Environment Award - 26 May 2003 - United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
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Boureima Wankoye of Niger to Receive United Nations Environment Award - 26 May 2003

Mr. Wankoye is President of Achats Service International (ASI) — a company which has proven to be an excellent example of private sector initiative in environmental protection. ASI introduced and encouraged the mass plantation of gum arabic for export to Europe in the drylands of Niger, which has not only helped rehabilitate degraded land in these areas, but has also provided a profitable, income-generating activity for its inhabitants. It has thus tackled both adverse weather and land conditions as well as poverty, marking a breakthrough in sustainable development in drylands, where the world’s poorest reside.

Its activities have proven that “Environment for Development” can work and that innovative and that profit-making solutions to environmental problems are feasible even in the poorest agricultural and economic conditions and with modest capital. The plantation of 1,200 hectares of gum arabic in the drylands of Niger by ASI has not only provided a source of income for more than 6,000 rural families, it has also rehabilitated degraded land through afforestation, helped preserve almost extinct animal species, and created value for African agricultural products in the world market.

It has also drawn attention to the value of gum arabic, which requires little water and no fertilizer and can be used for commercial purposes such as soft drinks, cosmetics and in civil aviation, as a specimen for profit-generating agricultural production in dryland rural areas. ASI’s example has paved the way for the establishment of other such enterprises in drylands throughout the country and around the region.

"The winners of UNEP's Global 500 Roll of Honour are members of a broad environmental movement that is flourishing around the world. They have taken the path that most of us hesitate to take for want of time or caring," says UNEP’s Executive Director, Klaus Toepfer. "In honouring the Global 500 laureates, UNEP hopes that others will be inspired by their extraordinary deeds."

The award will be presented to Mr. Wankoye in Beirut, Lebanon by Mr. Toepfer, at the World Environment Day ceremonies on 5 June 2003.

Note to Editors: World Environment Day, which is celebrated every year in some 120 countries around the world on 5 June, was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972 to focus global attention and action on environmental issues.

Since the inception of the award in 1987, 735 individuals and organizations, in both the adult and youth categories, have been honoured with the Global 500 award. Among prominent past winners are: French Marine explorer Jacques Cousteau; Sir David Attenborough, producer of environmental television programmes; Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway; Anil Aggarwal, the prominent environmentalist from India; Ken Saro-Wiwa, the environmental and human rights activist from Nigeria who was executed for leading the resistance of the Ogoni People against the pollution of their Delta homeland; the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Jimmy Carter, former President of the United States; Jane Goodall of the United Kingdom whose research on wild chimpanzees and olive baboons provided insight into the lives of non-human primates; and the late Chico Mendes, the Brazilian rubber tapper who was murdered during his fight to save the Amazon forest.

Journalists wishing to establish contact with Mr.Wankoye can do so at:

Mr. Boureima Wankoye

B.P. 12014

Niamey

Niger

Tel: (227) 741 4227

Fax: (227) 741 1760

E-mail: asi@intnet.ne

For more information, please contact: Eric Falt, Spokesperson/Director of UNEP's Division of Communications and Public Information (DCPI), on Tel: 254-(0) 20-623292, Mobile: 254- (0) 733-682656, E-mail: eric.falt@unep.org or Elisabeth Guilbaud-Cox, Head of DCPI's Outreach & Special Events Unit on Tel: 254-(0) 20-623401, Mobile: 254-(0)722-600353; E-mail: elisabeth.guilbaud-cox@unep.org or Nick Nuttall, UNEP Head of Media, DCPI, on Tel: 254-(0)20-623084, Mobile:254-(0)733-632755, E-mail: nick.nuttall@unep.org

UNEP Web Site: http://www.unep.org