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United Nations Environment Award

Nairobi, 1 June 2000 - An aboriginal community in Australia, two journalists from Spain and the United States and a wildlife orphanage in South Africa are among this year's 14 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 on every continent will be officially recognized on 4 June 2000 at a special award ceremony in Adelaide, Australia. The event, hosted by UNEP and the Government of Australia, is part of the main international World Environment Day celebrations.

"UNEP is indeed very proud to recognize the achievements of these 'heroes' in the front lines of global environmental action," 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".

"In honoring the Global 500 laureates, UNEP hopes that others will be inspired by their extraordinary deeds," adds Toepfer.

The laureates who will receive their award from UNEP's Executive Director are: the Andyamathanha Nepabunna Community for being the first indigenous community in Australia to voluntarily declare more than 55,000 hectares of their traditional land as a protected area; Asbjorn Bjorgvinsson of Iceland for countering the commercial lobby to reestablish whaling and for having Iceland rejoin the International Whaling Commission; Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage of South Africa for rescuing wild chimpanzees threatened by poaching, deforestation and the bushmeat trade; Chumbe Island Coral Park in Tanzania for preserving a pristine coral island ecosystem in an otherwise over-fished and over- exploited area; Chief Larry Philip Fontaine for helping the aboriginal peoples of Canada address the issue of environmental degradation in their communities; Fuji Xerox Australia for developing a recycled paper, which reduces pressure on forest and waste; Robert Hager, a correspondent for NBC News Network in the United States for alerting the American people to the environmental challenges facing the planet, particularly global warming; the City of Las Pinas in the Philippines for resolving environmental problems through legislation and action; Dr. Reuben Americo Marti of Argentina for devising the City of Cordoba's first environmental regulation, which established compulsory environment impact assessment; Mei Ng of Hong Kong, People's Republic of China, for leading the fight against the illegal encroachment of country parks, the over- expansion of power plants, the use of pesticides, air pollution and government maladministration; and Carlos de Prada, a journalist from Spain, for bravely exposing environmental crimes.

The list of winners also includes three Global 500 laureates in the youth category. They are: Australian Trust for Conservation Volunteers for managing a force of young volunteers in practical conservation projects; BUNDjugend of Germany for achieving the Government's climate protection target in their schools within seven months, instead of the seven-year period set up by the Government; and Globetree Foundation for using theatre and drama to mobilize young people around the world to care for the environment.

Since the inception of the Global 500 Roll of Honour in 1987, 701 individuals and organizations, in both the adult and youth categories, have been honoured with this award. Prominent past winners include: French Marine explorer Jacques Cousteau; Sir David Attenborough, producer of environmental television programmes; Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway; Anil Aggarwal, the well-known 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 during his fight 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.

Asbjorn Bjorgvinsson Iceland
Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage South Africa
Chumbe Island Coral Park United
Republic of Tanzania
Chief Larry Philip Fontaine Canada
Fuji Xerox Australia Australia
Robert M. Hager United States of America
City of Las Pinas Philippines
Dr. Reuben Americo Marti Argentina
Mei Ng People's Republic of China
Carlos de Prada Spain

YOUTH CATEGORY Australian Trust for Conservation Volunteers Australia BUNDjugend Germany Globetree Foundation Sweden

For more information, please contact: Elisabeth Guilbaud-Cox, Coordinator, Special Events, UNEP Communications and Public Information (CPI), Nairobi, on Tel: (254-2) 62 3401; fax: 62 3927/62 3692; e-mail: or Tore J. Brevik, UNEP Spokesman and Director, CPI on Tel: (254-2) 62 3292; e- mail: UNEP web site:


UNEP News Release 00/62

Thursday 01 Jun 2000
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