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A business woman, a multinational and an illusionist, three among 17 individuals and organizations, to receive United Nations Award at World Environment Day celebrations in Tokyo

Nairobi, 18 May 1999 - A successful business woman, a multinational and a 13-year-old illusionist are among this year's 17 winners of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Global 500 Award. The outstanding contributions to the protection of the environment of these individuals and organizations from 12 countries will be officially recognized on 5 June 1999 at a special award ceremony in Tokyo. The event, hosted by UNEP and the Government of Japan, is part of the World Environment Day celebrations.

"UNEP is indeed very proud to recognize the environmental achievements of this year's winners," says UNEP's Executive Director, Klaus Toepfer. They have taken the path that most of us hesitate to take for want of time or caring".

"These often `silent heroes' have demonstrated in the most concrete way that we have the knowledge, the power and the technology to solve many of our environmental problems. More importantly, they have set an example many of us should follow," adds Toepfer.

The laureates who will receive their award from UNEP's Executive Director are: Bebe Arcifa Khan-Ajodha, a teacher from Trinidad and Tobago, who succeeded in making environmental education a national priority; the 120-million strong All-China Women's Federation for their country- wide afforestation efforts; Vilmar Berna, an environmental journalist from Brazil, who transforms his words into action; Kenneth Chamberlain, a CEO from the United Kingdom, who helped put tourism on the path to sustainability; Global Environmental Action, a non-governmental organization from Japan, which has succeeded in mobilizing key players in the field of the environment; Sampson Osew Larbi, a rural farmer from Ghana, who has helped protect his country's ecosystem; Captain Krishnan Nair, an entrepreneur who has made significant contributions to the greening of the hotel industry; Makoto Numata, an environmentalist from Japan who has made a lifetime commitment to safeguard the Earth's natural resources; the Pennsylvania Senior Environment Corps, a group of older persons from the United States who are using skills acquired through a lifetime of experience to protect the environment; the Russian Federation of Indigenous Peoples of the North, a unique coalition of indigenous people who are making their environmental concerns heard; Verna Simpson, a businesswoman from Australia who gave up a successful career to promote the environmental cause; Masayuki Tanaka, a university professor from Japan whose research has had a significant impact on the science of climate change; and Toyota Motor Corporation, the automotive industry giant for putting the environment at the top of its corporate agenda.

The list of winners also includes four Global 500 laureates in the youth category who have demonstrated that you are never too young to make a difference. These winners are Enviroworks, a group of high school students who has initiated a unique waste disposal programme using discarded construction materials; Junior Eco-Club young people from Japan who are doing their part to achieve a more sustainable world; Kruti Parekh, a 13-year-old illusionist from India, who uses magic to pass on the environmental message; and the Water Partnership Project, an collaboration between two schools in the Republic of South Africa which is setting an example for an entire nation.

Since the inception of the Global 500 Roll of Honour in 1987, some 691 individuals and organizations, in both the youth and adult categories, have been honoured with this award. Prominent past winners include: Marine explorer Jacques Cousteau; Sir David Attenborough, producer of environmental television programmes; Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway; Anil Aggarwal, the prominent environmentalist from India; Ken Saro-Wiwa, the environmental and human rights activist from Nigeria who was executed for leading the resistance of the Ogoni People against the pollution of their Delta homeland; the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF); Jimmy Carter, former President of the United States; Jane Goodall of the United Kingdom whose research on wild chimpanzees and olive baboons provided insight into the lives of non-human primates; and the late Chico Mendes, the Brazilian rubber-tapper who was murdered for fighting to save the Amazon forest.

To forge Global links and to implement ideas which can contribute to a more sustainable future, a network of all Global 500 laureates has been formed. Information about this unique network can be obtained at

UNEP looks to the world community to identify and nominate environmental advocates, so they too can be recognized for their efforts. Nomination forms can be obtained from UNEP's Headquarters, Global 500 Roll of Honour, Communications and Public Information Branch, P.O. Box 30552, Nairobi, Kenya, E-mail: and from UNEP's regional offices.




Bebe Arcifa Khan-Ajodha     Trinidad and Tobago All-China Women's Federation   People's Republic of China Vilmar Berna    Brazil Kenneth Chamberlain     United Kingdom Global Environmental Action    Japan Sampson Osew Larbi     Ghana Captain Khrishnan Nair     India Makoto Numata     Japan Pennsylvania Senior Environment Corps    United States of America Russian Federation of Indigenous Peoples    Russian Federation Verna Simpson     Australia Professor Masayuki Tanaka    Japan Toyota Motor Corporation     Japan


Enviroworks    Canada Junior Eco-Club     Japan Kruti Parekh     India The Water Partnership Project    Republic of South Africa

For more information, please contact:
Ms. Elisabeth Guilbaud-Cox,
Coordinator, Special Events,
UNEP Communications and Public Information,
on tel: (254-2) 623401; fax: 623927/623927,
Tore J. Brevik,
UNEP Spokesman and Director,
CPI on tel: 623292;
UNEP Web Site:

UNEP News Release 1999/37

Friday 04 Jun 1999
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