With an outstanding track record and international reputation in the field of emergency environmental response, Mike Cowing embodies the type of dedicated, inspiring individual the Green Star Awards set out to honour. Mr Cowing, of the United Kingdom, is a world-class environmental expert with more than 25 years experience working in the developing world. A specialist in the management of hazardous and municipal waste and contaminated land, he has a wealth of experience addressing environmental and health concerns in conflict and disaster affected areas.
Since 2002, Mr Cowing has worked with the Post-Conflict and Disaster Management Branch of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) as a Senior Environmental Expert assessing the risks of environmental impacts and designing appropriate and sustainable remediation interventions. His work as an international civil servant has directly benefited terrestrial and marine ecosystems and the quality of life for tens of thousands of people.
For the past five years, Mr Cowing has been an instrumental 'on-the-ground' actor dealing with environmental response assessments and recovery programmes in post-conflict and post-disaster situations. Often working in difficult and dangerous conditions, Mr Cowing has led and coordinated a wide portfolio of missions spanning many countries during his outstanding service with UNEP.
Most recently, following the UN Secretary General's visit to Gaza in January 2009, Mr Cowing was one of the first 'on-the-ground' environmental experts to participate in the Early Recovery Needs Assessment (ERRNA). As the designated Environmental Expert, he completed fieldwork within four days, collecting a number of soil and water samples for analysis and provided input into the Early Recovery Needs Assessment Report. His participation in the Early Recovery Needs Assessment mission and input to the subsequent Assessment Report has been extremely well received.