The 2003 Volvo Environment Prize is being awarded to two pioneers who placed people and their need in focus. Madhav Gadgil from India and Mohammad Yunus from Bangladesh have each in his respective field created new models for understanding and transforming the relationships between poverty, development and the environment.
Professor Madhav Gadgil is one of the world’s leading ecologists and conservationists, a scientist who has conducted pioneering work in integrating research on biodiversity with the needs of people and their communities. He has worked to mitigate the conflicts of interests between man’s needs and the requirements of conservation. He was the main contributor to the establishment of India’s first biosphere reserve in the Western Ghats. Professor Gadgil is inspired by the firm belief that knowledge about the traditions and experiences of communities is of central importance to scientific research as well as ecological and social planning.
Dr. Mohammad Yunus founded the Grameen Bank in 1983, which in an untraditional way provides small loans to villagers, especially women, who would never qualify for commercial credits. These small loans helped people to set up a small business from which they could earn money and the degree of repayment of these loans is exeptionally high compared with traditional banking. The environmental implications of the Grameen project flow from its impacts on both social capital and women’s empowerment, strongly associated with conservation and sustainable natural resource management.
The Volvo Environment Prize was established in 1989 and amounts to SEK 1.5 million that will be divided between the recipients. Through the years the prize has recognized pioneering research on most aspects of sustainable development, which is especially well exemplified by this year’s prize.The 2003 prize will be presented by the EU Commissioner for the Environment, Margot Wallström, in a ceremony to be held on October 29, in Brussels, Belgium.
More detailed information on the prize and the winners, including photos, is available on the Volvo Environment Prize website: www.environment-prize.com
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