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March 14, 2011

Top Environmental Prize Honors Footprint Pioneer

We are pleased to announce that Global Footprint Network President Dr. Mathis Wackernagel is among the 2011 recipients of the prestigious Zayed International Prize for the Environment. The prize was presented today by UAE Vice President and Prime Minister Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum at a special ceremony in Dubai.

Dr. Habib Al Habr, Regional Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, described the prize as the most important environmental award given to champions and pioneers in this field.

Dr. Wackernagel was recognized for his work translating the complexity of humanity’s impact on the environment and natural resources into a more understandable and actionable form, according to the prize committee.

“The concept of ecological limits and relating the demands of human beings to the planet’s available ecological resources is catalyzing action among governments, business and civil society,” the committee said in a statement. “Under Swiss-born Dr. Wackernagel’s leadership, the Footprint is now recognized as a leading and highly comprehensible indicator of sustainability.”

“I am honored to receive the Zayed Prize,” Dr. Wackernagel said. “We all understand that with money, we need to know how much we have and how much we use if we want to avoid going bankrupt. The same is true for natural capital. That is why we work with nations around the globe to understand their supply of ecological resources, and how that compares with what it takes to meet the needs of their economies.
In a world of rapidly increasing resource-constraints, achieving a healthy balance of these factors will be increasingly crucial for countries, cities and businesses to remain competitive.”

Dr. Wackernagel is proud to share the award with several esteemed colleagues. These include Lee Myung-bak, President of the Republic of Korea, who was honored for his commitment to a green economy; Indian economist Sir Partha Dasgupta who coined the term “inclusive wealth” to spotlight the way conventional measures— primarily GDP — fail to capture natural capital or environmental assets; and author and architect Najib Saab of Lebanon, who founded the influential Al-Bia Wal-Tanmia (Environment and Development) magazine, which has placed the environment high on national and regional agendas in the Arab world.

For more information about the award and its recipients, see http://www.zayedprize.org.ae.