Zayed environment prize awarded

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, will honour the winners of the Zayed International Prize for Environment.

DUBAI // The Zayed International Prize for the Environment has this year been awarded to the president of South Korea.
The US$500,000 (Dh1.8 million) award, which recognises political leaders, scientists and activists, was named after Sheikh Zayed, founder of the nation.

The prize focus this year was on the “green economy”, said Rashid Ahmed bin Fahad, the Minister of Environment and Water.

President Lee Myung-bak received the award for his “Green Growth” policy, which became law last year. The plan commits the country to devote 2 per cent of its annual gross domestic product (GDP) toward developing eco-friendly businesses and projects.

An Indian-born environmental economist, Sir Partha Dasgupta, from Cambridge University in Britain, will be awarded $300,000 for his work linking sustainability and economics.

The economics professor is famous for being the man who invented the term “inclusive wealth” in an attempt to show that conventional measures of wealth, such as GDP, fail to take into account the value and importance of natural assets.

The $200,000 prize for environmental activism will be shared by two individuals.

The Swiss-born Dr Mathis Wackernagel, president of the Global Footprint Network, is one of the inventors of the concept of environmental footprint, which measures demands on the environment in terms of the territory needed to produce materials to sustain the people who live there, as well as house them and accommodate their waste.

Dr Wackernagel shares the award with a Lebanese national, Professor Najib Saab, the publisher of Environment and Development magazine.

The influential Arabic-language publication eventually became the springboard for the creation of the Arab Forum for Environment and Development.

The winners will be honoured at a ceremony in Dubai on March 14, which will be attended by their patron, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.