The UNEP Sasakawa Environment Prize is one of the most prestigious environmental awards in the world.
The establishment of an international environment prize was recommended at the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment held in Stockholm in 1972. This prize, then known as the Pahlavi Prize, was first awarded in 1976. Now known as the UNEP Sasakawa Environment Prize, it is awarded annually to leading environmentalists and recognizes the work of these individuals at the global level.
Since its inception, interest in the award has increased significantly as attested by the growing number of nominations. After serious deliberations and in the light of the kind of nominations received over the years, the Selection Committee recommended that all nominations be considered on an annual basis and that the Prize be awarded solely to "individuals who have made outstanding global contributions to the management and protection of the environment". The Prize aims to encourage environmental achievement in any field of the environment.
Co-Winner 2003 : Xie Zhenhua
Xie Zhenhua, the initiator and leader of China’s environmental protection programme, has successfully worked to improve China’s environment for more than two decades. His leadership has also helped to change the attitude of China’s people—a quarter of the world’s population—towards the environment.
Co-Winner 2003 : Dener José Giovanini
In 1999, the environmentalist Dener Giovanini created RENCTAS—the Brazilian network to fight the trafficking of wild animals. RENCTAS has significantly changed attitudes among Brazilian society and the government about this problem. The subject of animal trafficking used to be rarely raised among the Brazilian people. Nowadays it is regularly featured in the media. In just four years, Giovanini has built a network that comprises 600 affiliated organizations and about 39,000 registered individuals. He receives an average of 150 e-mails a day.