Plans Surface for Nobel Prize for Sustainability

This past weekend in Stockholm, an initiative was presented for a new Nobel Prize for Sustainability. Started as a internet-based grassroots project, the call has grown out to a international supported initiative. Even the Dalai Lama has lent his name to the cause.

Stockholm, Sweden – December 10, 2003 [] At the presentation in the Dutch Embassy in Stockholm, the initiators unfolded their results and future plans. The current Economy Prize could be reformed to a prize for sustainable leadership, like the current Peace Prize is used for rewarding leadership on peace-issues. The Prize for economics will not longer be a pure scientific prize then. Almost one million people and their organizations have signed a letter with the request for the Sustainable Prize. The letter and the heavy box with signatures will be posted on the 10th of December 2003, the day of the official Nobel Prize ceremonies. The call for a Nobel Prize on Sustainability is supported by numerous organizations, including the World Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and the Earth Charter Initiative. The plea is also reiterated by individual world citizens, including some very prominent ones. 1989 Nobel Peace Price winner Dalai Lama, the political and spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, has lent his name to the cause. The petition is furthermore signed by individuals like Dr Bedrich Moldan, former president of the Committee on Sustainable Development (CSD) of the United Nations, Dr. Lester R. Brown, founder of the Worldwatch Institute. Even companies like Bodyshop International have expressed their support. The initiators of the campaign believe that a Nobel Prize for sustainable development could become a tremendous encouragement for all those who devote themselves to creating a sustainable society. “Roll models in sustainable leadership are urgently needed at a time in which pollution, climate change and scarcity of clean water are the order of the day,” said Dutch parliamentarian Boris van der Ham. The initiators believe that the Sustainable Prize can be used to stimulate companies and world leaders to actively support innovative, sustainable technologies and international treaties. This coming year the initiators will go on finding support for their initiative. They will visit international institutes and banks to discuss the funding of the new Prize. By establishing a new network on Sustainable Leadership in spring 2004, they want to keep the debate about the issue ongoing. They are aware that the Nobel Foundation is not enthusiastic about a new Prize. “We will repeat our request as long as it takes in many different ways,” said the main proponents in a statement. They will be back in Stockholm or Oslo next year.
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