Najib Saab, the Editor-in-Chief of the magazine Al-Bia Wal-Tanmia (Environment and Development) and secretary general of AFED (Arab Forum for Environment and Development) won the Zayed International Prize for the role he has played in raising awareness about environmental concerns in the Arab world.
UAE minister of Environment and Water, Dr Rashid Ahmed bin Fahd, explained that Najib Saab had secured the award because his influential and successful magazine had “triggered unprecedented environmental awareness at all levels” and “built a new relationship between policy-makers and people of the Arab world with the issues of environment and sustainability, and placed the environment high on the national and regional agenda.” The prize will be handed out next week in a ceremony in Dubai.
The Zayed International Prize for Environment was setup in 2001 by Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum and is worth $1 million. It is believed to be one of the most prestigious environmental prizes worldwide. Dr Mohammad Bin Fahd, Chairman of the Prize, told Gulf News; “The prize is named after the late Shaikh Zayed, who showed care for the environment long before it became a global issue, and this award represents Shaikh Zayed’s philosophy.”
Saab’s vision for a more environmental conscious Arab world meant that he setup the environmental magazine back in 1996 and as it was published in the Arabic language, it has been able to reach a wide Arab audience including pupils at schools and influential policy-makers.
Saab has also influenced the establishment of the Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED) which is now an influential think-tank for environmental issues in the region. AFED has played an important role in highlighting issues such as water shortages and the need for urgent action to avoid the worst affects of climate-change induced water scarcity.
We featured AFED’s documentary Wet and Dry back in July 2010 although Green Prophet reporter Tafline Laylin raised concerns about the misguided notion that flashy projects such as Masdar should be considered as some sort of sustainable solution.
Even so, the efforts of Najib Saab in highlighting environmental issues in the Arab world does deserve recognition. Other winners include the environmental economist Partha Dasgupta, Dr Mathis Wackernagel who co-founded the Global Footprint Network and Lee Myung-bak, the President of the Republic of Korea.
: Image via AFED.
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