In their citation the international jury say that “one person has done more than most to catalyze political and public opinion to an understanding that the environment is a fundamental pillar of sustainable development That person is Mr Kofi Annan”.
They note the various reports, requested by the UN Secretary-General in the run up to the 2005 World Summit in New York including “A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility” and “In Larger Freedom”.
The Zayed jury also noted the personal leadership of the Secretary-General at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002 in South Africa that addressed the Water, Energy, Health, Agriculture and Biodiversity (WEHAB) themes.
“Five years ago, recognizing the potential threat that environmental degradation posed for people around the world, Mr Annan also called for the first-ever international scientific assessment of the health of the world’s ecosystems,” says the citation.
The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment reported in 2005, again in the run up to last September’s World Summit.
‘Mr Annan has emphasized the importance of the multilateral system in all facets of his work, convinced that global environmental challenges require global cooperation,” adds the jury.
Klaus Toepfer, chair of the jury and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), said: “The jury was faced with many outstanding candidates for the Zayed prizes. But when you look at the overall global impact on politics, business, science and civil society of Mr Annan’s environment and sustainable development-related initiatives, we came to the conclusion he is deservedly the global winner”.
According to UN figures, around 1,500 new chemicals are produced each year, adding to the 80,000 the world currently produces.
And those figures are only going to rise.
It is estimated that over the next 15 years there will be an 85% increase in the manufacture of chemicals globally.
Many, says the UN, have not been tested fully or are insufficiently labelled, particularly in the developing world.
The UN is hoping to get agreement on a new approach to managing chemicals, so minimising their effects on human health.There is indeed a problem with lax enforcement of safety standards in developing nations (and even from time to time in developed ones) but this has very little to do with the number of different chemicals produced. Last year's Songhua river pollution was caused by a spillage of benzene, which is not a new chemical, and this is entirely representative. From Bhopal to Yilin/Harbin the causes of chemical pollution and deaths are lax enforcement of existing safety regulations not the development of new chemicals which is precisely why the key statement of the entire BBC article is:
Signing an agreement is one thing, but the UN and its leader know it will take further leadership to put that agreement into practice.The UN and its leader are unable to enforce any environmental agreement. What are they going to do? impose a fine on China for pollution? don't make me laugh. This concference is clearly a complete and utter waste of space and time.