'BEBET' GOZUN NAMED ONE OF UN'S 7 CHAMPIONS OF THE EARTH
SINGAPORE, APRIL 22, 2007 (STAR) Former Environment and Natural Resources Secretray Elisea "Bebet" Gozun accepted the prestigious 2007 Champions of the Earth Award conferred by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) at a gala ceremony held in Singapore on April 19. The grand event was attended by Singapore’s Senior Minister Go Chok Tong, UN Undersecretary General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner, Hollywood star and environmental campaigner Daryl Hannah, and environmental leaders from various parts of the world.
Besides Gozun, six other Champions of the Earth have been named by UNEP. They are Cherif Rahmani of Algeria, Al Gore of the United States, Viveka Bohn of Sweden, Marina Silva of Brazil, Prince Hassan Bin Talal of Jordan, and Jacques Rogge and the International Olympic Committee.
Presenting the global award, Achim Steiner of UNEP said: "The seven winners honored this evening are from different corners of the planet and drawn from different backgrounds and experiences. But they share a common sense of purpose and of values, namely to reject the status quo, to persist when others may have failed and faltered, and to deliberately seize the opportunities to promote more intelligent ways of managing development that balances the economic, social and environmental realities of the 21st century."
Gozun was honored for pushing forward the environmental agenda in the Philippines by winning the trust of business leaders, nongovernmental organizations and political decision-makers alike. She said the award recognizes not only the sum of her accomplishments, but also of the extraordinary deeds of many other Filipinos, who will probably remain nameless and will not be recognized nationally, much less globally.
In her acceptance statement, Gozun said: "Mobilizing communities and sectors with differing interests to act together is a challenge in itself. Especially in developing countries, the challenge to conserve the environment comes hand in hand with the challenge to overcome poverty.
We cannot claim environmental championship and yet ignore the need to aggressively address poverty." She appealed for all people to help catalyze another synergy of the environmental movement and the movement for poverty reduction and justice.
The Champions of the Earth is an international environment award established in 2004 and is presented each year by UNEP to seven outstanding environmental leaders. UNEP receives nominations of individuals or groups who have made a significant and recognized contribution to the protection and sustainable management of the earth’s environment. Each champion must have made an important impact at the policy level through their leadership, vision and creativity.
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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