The search for a global environment leader begins

Who is going to be the next global environment leader? Nominations have opened for the 2003 Global Environment Leadership Award, the search for someone who has shown sustained leadership in protecting the environment around the world.

The award is organised by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), an organisation that channels funds into projects in developing countries, implemented by the World Bank and the UN environment and development programmes. Nominations will be reviewed by a panel of prominent international environmentalists.

Past winners include the 2002 joint recipients, Xie Zhenhua, China’s Minister of State Environmental Protection Administration, and Jiang Zehui, President of the Chinese Academy of Forestry. Maurice Strong, Senior Advisor to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, also received a special award in recognition of his years of advocacy for the environment.

In 1998, former Costa Rican President Jose Maria Figueres won the award for his efforts to phase out fossil fuels by 2010 and for instituting the pioneering concept of payment for environmental benefits from forests, such as watershed services and greenhouse gas absorption.

“It will take sustained leadership on a national and international level to meet the goals set at the Earth Summit in Rio and the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg,” said GEF Chief Executive Officer and Chairman Mohamed T El-Ashry. The Award was created to recognise and encourage this calibre of leadership, he said.

Nominations must be received by the end of February, and should consist of a letter describing why the nominee deserves to win. Submissions should be sent to: Mr Hutton Archer, GEF Secretariat, 1818 H Street, NW, Washington, DC 20433; fax +1 202 522 3240; phone +1 202 458 7117. Self-nominations will not be accepted. The winner will be announced on 22 April.

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