New environment award recognises peace prize winner Wangari Maathai

Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai is a champion for linking the environment and human rights.

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BOGOR, Indonesia (22.05.2012)_A new environment award from the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) and commemorating renowned environmentalist, the late Wangari Maathai, will be presented in September this year.

The US$20,000 Wangari Maathai Award recognises 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai’s positive contribution to forests and the environment.

An international jury selected by CPF, a collective composed of 14 international organisations and secretariats with substantial forests programs, is looking for candidates who work to preserve, restore and sustainably manage forests, and to communicate the key role forests play in rural livelihoods and the environment.

The deadline for nominations is Friday, June 15 and nominees will be notified of their selection through email in late August. The awards will be held on September 27 on the first anniversary of Wangari Maathai’s death, during the FAO Committee on Forestry and 3rd World Forestry Week meetings.

Wangari Maathai, an environmental activist from Kenya, studied in both the US and Kenya before she founded the NGO, Green Belt Movement, in the 1970s. The movement helped to sustain the environment such as through tree planting. It has so far planted more than 45 million trees around the country and has since partnered with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on the Plant for the Planet Campaign to encourage communities and school children to plant more trees.

In 2004, she became the first woman from Africa to receive a Nobel Peace Prize for her work in sustainable development, democracy and peace. Maathai is championed for making the link between the environment and human rights. “You cannot protect the environment unless you empower people,” she once said.

Maathai passed away in September 2011, following complications related to ovarian cancer. A film, commissioned by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), together with United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the World Agroforestry Center, and on behalf of CPF, was produced in tribute to the noted advocate of our environment.



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