Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, VP for UAE & ruler of Dubai, presented South Korean President Lee Myung-bak with the Zayed Environmental Prize.
Named after the late UAE President Sheikh Zayed, the $1 million Zayed Environmental prize is awarded biannually to political leaders, scientists, and activists who are leading the way in sustainable initiatives. Najib Saab, the Editor-in-Chief of the magazine Al-Bia Wal-Tanmia (Environment and Development) received one of the prizes awarded this year for raising the Middle East’s environmental awareness. The top prize went to South Korea’s President for his country’s “Green Growth” initiative.
President Lee Myung-bak has mandated that South Korea will spend 2% of their annual GDP on spearheading and developing sustainable projects. Among the priorities are to encourage electric vehicles and smart grids, and to explore the possibility of trading greenhouse gas emissions (ho hum on that last score).
South Korea also founded the Global Green Growth Initiative (GGGI) that will help developing countries develop their cleantech industries. That country signed a deal with the UAE to establish a Middle East and North Africa regional office for the GGGI at Masdar City.
In addition to Mr. Saab, Sir Partha Dasgupta of Cambridge was acknowledged for connecting sustainability with economics. He is best known for coining the term “inclusive wealth” which argues that GDP fails to properly describe the wealth of society since it excludes natural assets from its accounting.
The President received $500,000. “Climate change is undoubtedly the challenge of our times,” The National quotes Mr Lee. “We believe protecting the environment and attaining sustainable growth can go together and we believe it must.”
:: The National
More Zayed and the UAE: