By SAMEEN AHMED KHAN
The UNESCO Sultan Qaboos Award for Environment Preservation for 2013 has been jointly awarded to the National Forest Holding State Forests in Poland and the Wild Life at Risk Protection Organisation in South Africa. The awarding ceremony took place on 26 November, during the World Science Forum in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), during 24-27 November, under the auspices of UNESCO.
Awarded every two years, the Prize consists of a certificate and $70,000. It is funded by Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Al Said of Oman. The UNESCO Sultan Qaboos Prize for Environment Preservation recognises outstanding contributions by individuals, groups of individuals, institutes or organisations to the management or preservation of the environment, consistent with the policies, aims and objectives of UNESCO, and in relation to the Organisation’s programmes in this field, such as Biosphere Reserves and natural World Heritage sites.
The State Forests National Forest Holding of Poland manages more than 75 per cent of the country’s forests. The holding plays a major role in ensuring the sustainable management of forests while raising public awareness of environmental concerns and the need for ecological conservation. Most of the forests situated in Poland’s 10 biosphere reserves are managed by the holding.
The Endangered Wildlife Trust of South Africa develops and implements innovative environmental protection projects. In close cooperation with local communities, the trust works for the preservation of ecosystems and endangered species through research, environmental education, training and awareness-raising.
The UNESCO Sultan Qaboos Prize for Environment Protection aims at finding scientific solutions to the environmental problems being faced by planet Earth. Since its launch in 1991, the prize honoured individuals and institutions across the globe.
The prize is a noble message by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos and is meant to invite the whole world to put in effort to achieve environmental safety for humanity. It is the first Arab environmental protection prize to be awarded at the international level. The other major science prize instituted by the Arabs is the King Faisal International Prize.
[Sameen Ahmed Khan is on the Engineering Department, Salalah College of Technology (SCOT), Salalah, Sultanate of Oman. email@example.com]