Dr. Mostafa Kamal Tolba: Winner 1993
Dr. Mostafa Kamal Tolba, world renowned scientist and for 17 years Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), has been an eloquent and tireless defender of the environment for most of his life.
Born in Egypt, a country whose economy depends on the waters of a river that flows through other states, made him aware of the link between environment and politics. He has always believed that common environmental interests should override political differences, even conflicts between nations.
In 1972, he led his country's delegation to the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment which gave rise to UNEP. It is to his leadership that much of the credit for directing the environment to the forefront of global thinking and action is due. He applied his belief that environmental decisions are inseparable from socio-political decisions in all his consultations with political leaders. His negotiating skills and scientific knowledge contributed to UNEP's most widely acclaimed success - the historic 1988 agreement to protect the ozone layer - the Montreal Protocol. The Protocol is recognized as setting a precedent for international preventive rather than corrective environmental action.
At the Earth Summit in Brazil, he was at the helm of the negotiations when the Conventions on Climate Change and Biological Diversity were signed. He also successfully worked for treaties to protect the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. During the Iran-Iraq conflict he often had the warring parties at the same negotiating table discussing common environmental interests.
In making its selection, the Committee noted that although Dr. Mostafa Tolba, as Executive Director of UNEP, was in a privileged position he went far beyond the call of duty in his commitment, dedication and contributions to the environment.
Dr. Mostafa Kamal Tolba
23 Fawzy El Ramah Street
Tel: (202) 269 5800/706 044
Fax: (202) 269 1267