2007 Champions of the Earth–Includes a Danawanon, also Al Gore

Wed, February 21, 2007  12:52 am

Award winners announced on Eve of Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum

(One of the 7 awardees is Eliza Gozun of World Bank, daughter of DAUSA Member Socorro Almendras-Gillera. Monching)

20070221005135284_1_original.jpgNairobi, 1 February 2007 – – Seven leaders whose achievements range from chemical safety, sustainable waste management and the greening of sporting events to the conservation of deserts, rainforests and the global climate are to be honoured as Champions of the Earth 2007, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) announced today.

The winners, who will be presented with their awards at a special ceremony in Singapore on 19 April, were named as:

• His Excellency Mr. Cherif Rahmani for advancing environmental law in Algeria and for his role in leading the Year for Deserts and Desertification.

• Elisea ‘Bebet’ Gillera Gozun for pushing forward the environmental agenda in her native Philippines by winning the trust of business leaders, non-governmental organizations and political decision-makers alike;

• Viveka Bohn of Sweden for playing a prominent role in multilateral negotiations and her leadership in global efforts to ensure chemical safety;

• Her Excellency Ms. Marina Silva of Brazil for her tireless fight to protect the Amazon rainforest while taking into account the perspectives of people who use the resources in their daily lives;

• Al Gore of the United States for making environmental protection a pillar of his public service and for educating the world on the dangers posed by rising greenhouse gas emissions;

• His Royal Highness Prince Hassan Bin Talal of Jordan for his belief in transboundary collaboration to protect the environment and for addressing environmental issues in a holistic manner;

• Jacques Rogge and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for advancing the sport and environment agenda by providing greater resources to sustainable development and for introducing stringent environmental requirements for cities bidding to host Olympic Games.

News of the winners comes in advance of UNEP’s annual gathering of environment ministers taking place next week at the organization’s headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. The risks and opportunities of globalization, in relation to environmental issues, will be high on the agenda of the conference.

Achim Steiner, UN Under Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, said: ”Steering globalization onto a more intelligent and sustainable trajectory requires the commitment of governments, the private sector, local authorities and civil society—but it also needs individuals capable of catalizing change, empowering others and inspiring action”.

“The men and women we are recognizing today are indeed role models who have committed themselves to realizing a more just, equitable and sustainable world. Proof, if proof is needed, that globalization can be sustainably managed if we harness the intelligence, energy and vision so self evident in these Champions of the Earth 2007,” he added.

The awards, presented for the third time, recognize prominent and inspirational environmental leaders from each region of the world. Through leadership, vision and creativity, each Champion has made an impact at the policy level.

The winners will be honoured at a gala event hosted by UNEP, the Singapore Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), with the support of various sponsors and partners including Asia Pacific Resources International Holdings (APRIL).

On 19 and 20 April 2007, UNEP and the United Nations Global Compact will co-host the inaugural “Global Business Summit for the Environment” (B4E) in Singapore.

Linked with the UNEP Champions of the Earth award event, the Summit will seek to showcase visionary leadership in corporate environmental responsibility.

Elisea “Bebet” Gillera Gozun – Philippines

Mrs. Elisea “Bebet” Gillera Gozun’s commitment to public service and her passion for the environment has given her the energy to overcome obstacles, persuade disbelievers and shape alliances.

Her leadership in World Bank projects resulted in tangible results such as the introduction of pollution charges for industrial effluents in the Philippines, the establishment of the ECOWATCH programme – an innovative public disclosure programme of environmental performance of priority industries – and the ‘Brown Fund’- the first tripartite funding source for local urban environmental initiatives, jointly managed by non-governmental organizations (NGOs), business and government.

Mrs. Gozun recognized that without the local communities, the private sector and local governments on board led by mayors, no national policy could succeed. She has pushed for the introduction of community-based waste recovery, recycling and reuse in the Philippines and has also worked for the establishment of materials recovery facilities and on upgrading the quality and capacity of landfills for the residual wastes. To implement the pilot schemes in environmental management, she has attracted international funding and mobilized local resources. As a result, today there is a wide network of participating communities, with dramatically improved health situations due to better solid waste management.

Her personal integrity, combined with a keen pragmatic sense for what is politically feasible to constitute a viable solution, have won her the trust of business leaders, NGOs and political decision-makers alike.


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