UNEP Sasakawa Environment Prize



NAIROBI, 5 November 1996 -- The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) announced today that the 1996 UNEP Sasakawa Environment Prize has been awarded to Dr. Triloki Nath Khoshoo, a scientist from India, for his outstanding contributions to the protection and management of the environment.

"Dr. Khoshoo's environmental work has been wide ranging and he has pursued his goals, always in the interest of the environment, with determination and consummate skill and success, and he has had a marked influence in the societies where he has worked," said Lord Stanley Clinton-Davis, Acting Chairman of the Prize Selection Committee."

For more than 30 years, Dr. Khoshoo has been an advocate of strong regional environmental planning for long-term ecological and economic security, particularly in the developing country context.

"Dr. Khoshoo's conservation work in cytogenetics, biological diversity, biomass production and environmental research and development have been significant and his efforts have earned him a place as a leader in the environmental field," said Ms. Elizabeth Dowdeswell, UNEP Executive Director.

Dr. Khoshoo has generated considerable new knowledge regarding the genetic-evolutionary race history of a number of plants. Based on this knowledge, he has delineated, for the first time, centres of their diversity and origin, circumscribed gene pools and standardized procedures for studying the taxonomy of cultivated plants. His research in ornamental horticulture is recognized not only for its high scientific quality, but also for enriching the environment.

Dr. Khoshoo has also initiated work on the standardization of herbal drugs and compound formulation, particularly for rural use and development. He has recently turned his attention to the evolutionary implications of the variation in DNA content in chromosomes of gymnospermous taxa and other trees and relating these data to their habitat and other aspects of the environment. This work has been of considerable practical importance as it has helped map out forest tree breeding programmes for this economically and environmentally important group of plants.

His preemptive strategies, while Secretary to the Government of India's Department of Environment, were based on sound scientific analyses and resulted in policies which helped insulate the country from further environmental damage.

Upon receiving the news of being awarded the Prize, Dr. Khoshoo said "I accept this award with a deep sense of humility. I will, with redoubled dedication and conviction, pursue my work for this biodiversity-rich and technology-poor region. This accolade adds to my responsibility which I will try my best to discharge."

The official award ceremony, scheduled to take place in New Delhi, India on 30 November 1996, will be attended by a number of dignitaries including Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn of Thailand, Lord Stanley Clinton-Davis and UNEP's Executive Director.

Note to Editors

The UNEP Sasakawa Environment Prize, worth U$200,000 is considered one of the most prestigious environmental awards in the world. Past winners include: Chico Mendes, the rubber tapper from Brazil, who died leading the fight against the cattle ranchers' destruction of the rainforest; Dr. M.S. Swaminathan of India, the father of the economic ecology movement; and Lester Brown, Director of the WorldWatch Institute, whose writings were instrumental in alerting the world about the threats to the biosphere.

The Prize winners are selected by a distinguished panel of international leaders and environmentalists, including: Dr. Misael Pastrana Borrero, former President of Colombia; Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn of Thailand; Lord Stanley Clinton-Davis; Dr. Russell Peterson, President Emeritus of the National Audubon Society; Professor Wangari Maathai, founder and director of the Kenyan Greenbelt Movement; and Dr. Abdulbar Al-Gain, President of the Meteorology and Environmental Protection Administration of Saudi Arabia.

For more information, and to obtain 1997 nomination forms contact:

Ms. Elisabeth Guilbaud-Cox
UNEP Sasakawa Environment Prize
P.O. Box 30552
Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: (254-2) 62 3401
Fax: (254-2) 62 3927
E-mail: elisabeth.guilbaud@unep.org

Mr. Robert Bisset
Media/Information Officer
Information & Public Affairs
P.O. Box 30552
Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: (254-2) 62 3084
Fax: (254-2) 62 3692
E-mail: robert.bisset@unep.org

UNEP News Release 1996/61

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