Zakri awarded prestigious environment prize

CYBERJAYA, Feb 3 — Prof. Emeritus Dato’ Sri Dr. Zakri Abdul Hamid, the Science Advisor to the Prime Minister and Joint Chairman of the Malaysian Industry-Government Group on High Technology (MIGHT), was announced as one of the winners of the world’s most prestigious environment prize on February 1, 2014 in Dubai.

The Zayed International Prize for Environment was established in 1999 by Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, United Arab Emirates Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. Named after a great statesman and a dedicated environmentalist, the Zayed International Prize for the Environment is meant to recognise and encourage environmental achievements that have substantial impact on policies and actions of sustainable development in line with the vision and development philosophy of the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Father of the United Arab Emirates.

The US$1 million (RM3.35 million) prize is divided between winners in three categories: Global Leadership in Environment, Scientific and Technological Achievement in Environment, and Environmental Action leading to Positive Change in Society.

The Global Leadership prize went to Prince Albert II of Monaco for the prolific environmental work carried out by the Prince Albert II Foundation. Previous winners in this category include former US President Jimmy Carter, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland and former South Korean president Lee Myung-bak.

Zakri has an illustrious career in global environmental leadership including being the founding Chair of the UN Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and a member of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s elite Scientific Advisory Board (SAB). As co-Chair of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment report – a ground-breaking study with over 2,000 individual authors – Zakri was instrumental in developing a number of the report’s key findings. These included the conclusion that humans have changed ecosystems more rapidly over the past 50 years than in any comparable period of human history.

Zakri shares this year’s Zayed Prize for Scientific and Technological Achievement with Indian scientist, Ashok Khosla. Previous winners include Cambridge University professor Sir Partha Dasgupta, renowned American scientist Jane Lubchenco and former UNEP Executive Director Mostafa Tolba.

This year’s winners of the Environmental Action category are Paula Caballero Gómez of Colombia and Luc Hoffmann of Switzerland. Previous recipients include former Indonesian Environment Minister Emil Salim and the late Angela Cropper, President of the Cropper Foundation.

Said Dr. Zakri: “I am most humbled to be included among the ranks of such distinguished world figures and proud to acknowledge that this coveted prize recognises also Malaysia’s leadership in the world in the realm of sustainable development.” — Bernama