First, I would like to express our sincere gratitude and appreciation to the father of this land and dedicated environmentalist, His Highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates. May Allah shed his blessings on this leader and reward him for what he did for his people and for all life on earth. We are racing time and working hard under his leadership to ensure dignified life for the future generations. Hence, the integrity of the environment is a top priority in our development plans.
As you all know, there are so many threats to the environment on earth, but I would like to focus on the issue of Environmental Security which has become a major concern of leaders and planners all over the world. Poverty, Intra- and Inter-country conflicts, political instability and mass migrations of people and animals in the developing countries are causing serious deterioration of natural resources and spread of infectious diseases among people and animals. This in turn leads to overwhelming ecological and socio-economic imbalance, which kick off the basis of life support systems on our fragile earth.
On the other hand, we find that the industrialized and technologically developed countries are releasing enormous amounts of green house gases and chloro-flouro carbons and accumulating enormous amounts of hazardous waste without exerting much effort to avoid their serious impact. They are also racing each other in developing new biotechnology and new chemical, biological and radioactive weapons, while scientific evidence indicate that a small percentage of the armament cost is enough to solve most environment and development problems, especially if we can spread peace.
Our father and leader, H.H. Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, relentlessly pursued peace and worked hard for the conservation of the environment and human heritage, and from this peaceful country, we call upon both people and governments all over the world to stop fighting, come closer to each other, and curb exploitation and hegemony in order to realize peace and environmental security for better life and more sustainable development for all. The United Arab Emirates will not spare any time or effort in cooperating with others to realize these urgent human needs.
As the first cycle of Zayed Prize is closing so nicely, we believe that it has been very successful and full of achievements. Thanks to Allah and to the team who joined hands with supporting institutions and many sponsors to do a great job. The United Nations Environment Program, the United Nations Development Program and the National Institutions represented in the Higher Committee were the main supporters of this effort.
Congratulations to the winners. I hope that this will be an incentive for more fruitful work. I also hope that the winners of this cycle will send a clear message to the whole world that the Zayed Prize will be awarded to this caliber of winners only.
I would like to express my gratitude to the chairman and members of the International Jury and the Technical Advisory Committee for their effort and support. Thanks also to the United Nations Environment Program, the United Nations Development Program, the chairman and members of the Higher Committee, and the General Secretariat for working really hard to make this inaugural cycle a great success.
Let us all work hard for a better environment for our children and grandchildren.