The foundation KfW Stiftung has split the environmental award KfW-Bernhard-Grzimek-Preis 2015 and the prize money of 50,000 euros, awarding one half to Emmanuel de Merode, director of Virunga National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the other half to the scientist and economist Pavan Sukhdev.
- As the director of Virunga National Park in Congo, Emmanuel de Merode stands up for the preservation of biodiversity while also fighting against poverty, promoting peacekeeping and improving the living conditions of his staff and the population.
- The economist Pavan Sukhdev has come up with a ground-breaking approach to evaluate biodiversity and has developed pioneering ideas on remodelling the current economic system.
Emmanuel de Merode has been honoured with the award for his outstanding work in Africa’s oldest national park and his commitment to protecting endangered mountain gorillas and the region’s unique biodiversity. In addition, he has launched essential economic initiatives in the national park, aiming to secure a sustainable livelihood for the population. He has contributed immensely to reducing poaching and illegal logging and has been crucial to the conclusion of peace agreements with rebel leaders in the border region.
Pavan Sukhdev has received the award for his leading contribution to the study “The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity” (TEEB). It offers a ground-breaking approach to evaluate biodiversity and for the first time ever allows the increasing costs resulting from the loss of biodiversity to be determined. Meanwhile, the approach has been adjusted to be used in different sectors and has been transformed into a useful tool for policy makers.
Dr. Edeltraud Leibrock from the Board of KfW Stiftung stated: “KfW Stiftung aims to heighten public awareness of biodiversity with the environmental award KfW-Bernhard-Grzimek-Preis and to raise the attention of leaders in politics, economics, science and civil society to the fundamental importance of fast and sustainable action to ensure a future for all of us. The great number of enthusiastic replies and submitted proposals confirm that the award is increasingly gaining momentum on an international level. As a matter of fact, we received submissions from Europe, Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.”
Commenting on its decision to give the award to Emmanuel de Merode, the jury of renowned experts explained: “Emmanuel de Merode is the hero of Virunga and a moral compass for his colleagues and the local population. His commitment goes well beyond the usual duties of a
national park director as he spares no efforts to fight against poverty, promote peacekeeping and improve living conditions for his staff and the local population while at the same time protecting nature and biodiversity. His approach of enlisting local partners, residents, colleagues and politicians in the struggle to safeguard biodiversity and the sustainable management of this unique landscape is exemplary.” Setting out the reasons for honouring Pavan Sukhdev, the jury added: “Pavan Sukhdev has demonstrated that eco-friendly development, far from being an obstacle to growth, is a driving force for growing prosperity, job creation and poverty reduction. His pioneering study ‘The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity’ (TEEB) creates incentives for governments, businesses and civil society to determine the value not only of traditional financial assets but also of natural resources in an attempt to stimulate sustainable economic growth. Sukhdev has paved the way for a remodelling of the current economic system that is inevitable in the face of global challenges such as climate change, persistent poverty and the depletion of resources.”
Every two years, the Frankfurt-based foundation KfW Stiftung presents the environmental award KfW-Bernhard-Grzimek-Preis to individuals or organisations with an outstanding track record of developing creative and innovative solutions for preserving biodiversity. The award is named after Professor Bernhard Grzimek, pioneering conservationist and environmental activist, director of the Frankfurt zoo and long-time president of the Frankfurt Zoological Society. The award is presented for the second time this year after the Frankfurt Zoological Society was the first laureate in 2013.
SOURCE KfW Stiftung