At the invitation of Mark Malloch Brown, UNDP Administrator, and Timothy E. Wirth, Chairman of the United Nations Foundation, and on behalf of all the members of the Equator Initiative partnership, a panel of highly distinguished international figures has come together to form the Jury for the Equator Prize 2004.
This Jury represents an extraordinary body of expertise and experience in environment development issues from across the world. The Jury will select the six winners of the Equator Prize 2004 from a subset of 26 extraordinary finalist projects, themselves drawn from the pool of 340 nominations by the Technical Advisory Committee.
The results of the Jury's deliberations are announced at the Equator Prize 2004 Awards Ceremony, on 19 February 2004, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
H. E. Dr. Oscar Arias Sánchez
Founder of the Arias Foundation for Peace and Human Progress
President of Costa Rica, 1986-1990
Nobel Peace Laureate, 1987
Dr. Oscar Arias is Founder of the Arias Foundation for Peace and Human Progress and a spokesperson for the causes of worldwide peace and disarmament. Educated at the University of Costa Rica and the University of Essex, England, he earned a seat in the Costa Rican congress in 1978, became Secretary-General of the National Liberation Party in 1981, and was elected President of Costa Rica for the term 1986-1990. Assuming office at a time of regional discord, Dr. Arias worked throughout his Presidency to promote peace in Central America. In 1987, Dr. Arias developed the Arias Peace Plan to halt regional conflict. This culminated in the signing of the Esquipulas II Accords which helped establish a firm and lasting peace in Central America.
In 1987 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Using the monetary award from the Nobel Prize, he established the Arias Foundation for Peace and Human Progress - a foundation that promotes gender equality, the strengthening of civil society in Central America, and demilitarization and conflict resolution throughout the world.
Her Royal Highness Princess Basma Bint Talal
Royal Hashemite Fund for Human Development, Jordan
Her Royal Highness Princess Basma has worked internationally and in her native Jordan to promote a host of important issues, most notably in the areas of human development, gender equity and the well-being of children. She plays an active advocacy role, through the United Nations, contributing to global strategies on health, education, population, the environment and the advancement of women. Her Royal Highness is also committed to strengthening the capacity of local communities and groups and fostering models of socio-economic development that increase community participation.
She was instrumental in establishing the Jordanian Hashemite Fund for Human Development (JOHUD) and the Queen Zein Al Sharaf Institute for Development (ZENID). She also established the Jordanian National Commission for Women. Her Royal Highness was instrumental in the International Advisory Group to the UN Secretary General in preparation for the 1995 Conference on Women and has contributed to international organizations by serving as Goodwill Ambassador for UNFPA and as a member of the UNESCO International Advisory Board of the International Council on Social Welfare and the UNESCO International Panel on Democracy and Development.
Ms. Yolanda Kakabadse Navarro
President, IUCN - the World Conservation Union
Ms. Yolanda Kakabadse Navarro was elected President of IUCN - The World Conservation Union, in 1996. Born in Ecuador, she studied Educational Psychology at the Catholic University of Quito. In 1979, she was appointed Executive Director of Fundación Natura, which under her direction became one of Latin America's most important environmental organizations. From 1990 until 1992, Ms. Kakabadse coordinated participation of civil society organizations in the United Nations Conference for Environment and Development (UNCED) and in 1993 founded the NGO Fundación Futuro Latinoamericano. In August 1998, she was appointed Minister of Environment for the Republic of Ecuador, a position she held until January 2000.
A board member of numerous international bodies dedicated to protecting the environment, Ms. Kakabadse Navarro has received the Insignia of the National Order for Merit of the Republic of Ecuador, the Global 500 Award of the United Nations Environment Program, and the Order of the Golden Ark, bestowed by Prince Bernard of The Netherlands.
Mrs. Rigoberta Menchu Tum
President, Rigoberta Menchu Tum Foundation
Nobel Peace Laureate, 1992
Mrs. Rigoberta Menchu Tum is a Guatemalan activist who works to promote the rights of indigenous people worldwide. The child of activists, she was inspired by her parents and continues their struggle for the rights and dignity of indigenous peoples. She dictated her acclaimed autobiography, I, Rigoberta Menchu in 1984.
Her book and the campaign she led for social justice brought international attention to the conflict between indigenous people and the military government of Guatemala. In 1992, Rigoberta Menchu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. She used the $1.2 million cash prize to establish the Rigoberta Menchu Tum Foundation to continue the fight for the human rights of the indigenous people. Mrs. Menchu Tum worked hard to support the United Nations Declaration of 1993 as the International Year for Indigenous People.
Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs
Special Advisor to the Secretary-General on the Millennium Development Goals
Director, Earth Institute at Columbia University
Director, Millennium Project
Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs is Director of the Earth Institute, Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development, and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University and Special Advisor to the United Nations Secretary-General on the Millennium Development Goals. Prior to joining Columbia, he spent over twenty years at Harvard University, most recently as Director of the Center for International Development. Professor Sachs became internationally known in the 1980's for his work advising governments in Latin America, Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, Asia and Africa on economic reforms. He is author or co-author of more than two hundred scholarly articles and has written or edited many books. Professor Sachs was recently elected into the Institute of Medicine and is a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Prof. M.S. Swaminathan
UNESCO Cousteau Chair in Ecotechnology
Chairman, M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation
Professor M.S. Swaminathan has been a world leader in sustainable development for the past 45 years and is known as the father of the Green Revolution in India. As Secretary of the Indian Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operation, he developed a strong food security system in India. For his work in crop genetics and sustainable agricultural development in India and other developing nations, he was awarded the first World Food Prize in 1987, the Tyler and Honda Prizes in 1991, and the UNEP Sasakawa Award in 1994.
Dr. Swaminathan served as Director General of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (1972-78) and of the International Rice Research Institute (1982-88). He has also served as Independent Chairman of the FAO Council (1981-85) and as the President of International Union for the Conservation of Nature (1984-1990). He is a former president of National Academy of Agricultural Sciences of India, is member of the Royal Society of London, the US National Academy of Sciences, the Russian Academy, and the Italian and Chinese Academies.
Professor Muhammad Yunus
Grameen Bank founder and Managing Director
Professor Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Movement, is responsible for many innovative programs benefiting the rural poor. He attended Vanderbilt University on a Fulbright Scholarship and received his Ph.D. in Economics in 1969. He taught briefly in the US before returning to Bangladesh, where he joined the Economics Department at Chittagong University. In 1974, Dr. Yunus pioneered the idea of Gram Sarker (village government) as a form of local government based on the participation of rural people. This concept proved highly successful and was adopted by the Bangladeshi government in 1980. In 1978, Yunus received the President's Award for his innovations in Tebhaga Khamar (a system of cooperative three-share farming, which the Bangladeshi government adopted as the Packaged Input Program in 1977). Professor Yunus is also noted for his pioneering work in the area of "micro-credit," which provides "micro" loans to the poor that serve as a catalyst for improving their socio-economic status.
Professor A. H. Zakri
Director, United Nations University, Institute of Advanced Studies
Professor A. H Zakri, a national of Malaysia, is currently the Director of UNU/IAS in Tokyo. He is also Board Co-Chair of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, a four-year undertaking launched by the UN Secretary–General in 2001 to assess the state-of-health of the world’s ecosystems. Professor Zakri is a Council member of the Third World Academy of Sciences, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, a member of the Scientific Steering Committee of START, and a member of the newly-launched Global Steering Committee of the “Fish for All” Initiative. During the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in August 2002 in Johannesburg, he was Deputy Head of the UNU delegation and coordinated the university’s inputs in the preparatory meetings of the Summit.