Top Environmental Prize Honors Ecological Footprint Pioneer

Dubai, United Arab Emirates — Mar 10, 2011 / ) — Dr. Mathis Wackernagel, president of sustainability think tank Global Footprint Network and co-founder of the Ecological Footprint concept and methodology is among five recipients of this year’s Zayed International Prize for the Environment, one of the world’s most prestigious sustainability awards.

The recipients will be honored  next Monday, March 14, in Dubai. Dr. Habib Al Habr, Regional Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, described the prize as the most important environmental award given to champions and pioneers in this field.

The awardees this year share a common trait:  They recognize the central role of sustainability in maintaining viable and healthy economies.

Dr. Wackernagel, a co-recipient of the Zayed Prize for Environmental action leading to positive change in society, was recognized for his work translating the complexity of humanity’s impact on the environment and natural resources into a more understandable and actionable form.

"The concept of ecological limits and relating the demands of human beings to the planet’s available ecological resources has attracted and is catalyzing action among governments, business and civil society," the Prize Committee said in a statement. "Under Swiss-born Dr. Wackernagel’s leadership, the Footprint is now recognized as a leading and highly comprehensible indicator of sustainability."

"We all understand that with money, it is critical to know how much we have and how much we use if we want to avoid going bankrupt," Dr. Wackernagel said. "The same is even more true for natural capital. That is why we work with nations around the globe to understand their supply of ecological resources, and how that compares with what it takes to meet the needs of their economies. In a world of rapidly increasing resource-constraints, achieving a healthy balance of these factors will be increasingly crucial for countries, cities and businesses to remain competitive."

Dr. Wackernagel shares the award with Lee Myung-bak, President of the Republic of Korea, Indian economist Sir Partha Dasgupta, and Professor Najib Saab from Lebanon.

President Lee Myung-bak won the Zayed Prize for Global leadership in environment. In the midst of the recent economic and financial President Myung-bak seized the moment to commit his country to "Green Growth," a new paradigm for economic development that binds together environment protection and economic prosperity, creating new growth engines and jobs through green technology and clean energy.

Sir Partha Dasgupta won the Zayed Prize for Scientific and technological achievements in environment. Sir Partha, the Frank Ramsey Professor of Economics at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom, coined the term "inclusive wealth" to spotlight the way conventional measures of wealth – primarily GDP – fail to capture natural capital or environmental assets.

Professor Najib Saab, who shared the Zayed Prize for Environmental action leading to positive change in society, founded the groundbreaking and highly successful Al-Bia Wal-Tanmia (Environment and Development) magazine in 1996. The magazine triggered unprecedented environmental awareness at all levels, built a new relationship between the policy-makers and people of the Arab world with the issues of environment and sustainability, and placed the environment high on national and regional agendas.

The Prize was established by UAE Vice President and Prime Minister Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum in recognition of the philosophy, vision and achievements of former President, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

The winners will be honored by Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum at a special Award Ceremony on March 14, 2011, at Dubai International Convention Center.

For more information, please contact:
Nicole Freeling
Senior Communications Manager
Global Footprint Network
+1 510 839-8879 x302
mobile: +1 415 577-9282

Dr. Meshgan Al Awar
Secretary General
Zayed International Prize for the Environment
Mob: + 971 50 4537733
Ph: + 971 4 3326666
Fax: + 971 4 3326777


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