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World’s top environmentalists arrive in Beijing for 20th anniversary of prestigious UNEP Sasakawa Prize

A dozen laureates of one of the world’s most prestigious environmental awards – the United Nations Environment Programme Sasakawa Prize – will share their fears and hopes for our environmental future in Beijing on 27 and 28 September.

Nairobi, Bangkok, Beijing – 24 September 2004 – A dozen laureates of one of the world’s most prestigious environmental awards – the United Nations Environment Programme Sasakawa Prize – will share their fears and hopes for our environmental future in Beijing on 27 and 28 September.

Professor Mario Molina of the USA, who won a Nobel Prize for solving the riddle of the Antarctic ozone hole, alternative technology guru and peoples advocate Dr. Ashok Khosla of India and Australian Mr. Ian Kiernan whose vision is no less than Cleaning Up The World, will trade insights with the legal architects of many of the world’s multilateral environmental agreements, Dr. Wolfgang Burhenne of Austria and Dr. Francoise Burhenne-Guilmin of Belgium, campaigner against the illegal trafficking of wildlife Mr. Dener Giovannini of Brazil, and China’s own tireless champion of the environment Minister of  the State Environment Protection Administration (SEPA), Mr. Xie Zhenhua.

American Mr. Huey Johnson, founder of the Resource Renewal Institute and a passionate advocate of natural resource management, the pioneers of nature conservation in the Middle East, the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu in Saudi Arabia, China’s exemplary environmental administrator Professor Qu Geping, and US broadcaster Ms. Barbara Pyle, who set new benchmarks for environmental reporting with CNN, will also stimulate the debate.

UNEP Executive Director Klaus Toepfer said, “Through the generous support of the Nippon Foundation, UNEP has been able to celebrate and reward outstanding environmental service for two decades. That collective wisdom will now be applied to the most pressing contemporary concerns. I expect significant new insights into our environmental future to emerge from the exchange between laureates.”

The two-day ‘brain storming’ meeting will be structured around panel discussions on the themes of water, land, air and energy. It will mark the 20th anniversary of the awarding of the annual Sasakawa Prize and is being sponsored by the Nippon Foundation of Japan, in association with the China Association for International Friendly Contact, and hosted by SEPA.

The Vice-Premier of China, Mr. Zeng Peiyan, the former Prime Minister of Japan, Mr. Ryutaro Hashimoto and the President of the Nippon Foundation, Mr. Yohei Sasakawa are expected attend the opening ceremony of the forum at the historic Daio Yu Tai State Guest House in Beijing along with 300 invited Chinese and foreign dignitaries and guests.

The laureates will then meet in thematic groups at the Beijing Friendship Hotel on 27 September and take part in plenary discussions on 28 September. 

A press conference with Mr Toepfer and Sasakawa laureates to discuss the outcomes of the discussions will be held at 11:30-12:30 on 28 September in the Friendship Palace, Beijing Friendship Hotel.

For more information:

Journalists are invited to attend a press conference at 11:30-12:30 on 28 September in the Friendship Palace, Beijing Friendship Hotel. To arrange attendance at the discussion sessions or to request interviews with UNEP staff or Sasakawa laureates contact Tim Higham, UNEP Regional Information Officer, in Beijing on mobile no 13651044924.

Background on the Sasakawa prize and all the laureates is available from http://www.unep.org/sasakawa/

Or contact Eric Falt, Spokesperson/Director of UNEP's Division of Communications and Public Information, on Tel: 254 20 62 3292, Mobile: 254 (0) 733 682 656, E-mail: eric.falt@unep.org or Tim Higham, Regional Information Officer, UNEP, Bangkok, on Tel +66 2 288 2127, Mobile +66 9 1283803, E-mail higham@un.org.

 UNEP News Release 2004/ 44

Friday 24 Sep 2004
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