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Press Release On 'The Second Festival Of The Cultures And Civilizations Of World Deserts', Paris

Wednesday 12th of January 2005

Bonn, 31 March 2005
Dr. Mohamed Ahmed Bin Fahad
Chairman of the Zayed Prize Higher Committee
Vice President of World Deserts Foundation
Delivered by Dr. Meshgan M. Al Awar
Secretary General of Zayed Prize,

His Excellency/ Mr. Sherif Rahmani
Algerian Minister of Environment
President of the World Deserts Foundation
His Excellency/ Mr. Hama Arba Diallo, Executive Secretary,
The United Nations Convention for Combating Desertification
His Excellency/ The United Arab Emirates Ambassador to Germany
Excellencies the Diplomats and Heads of Organizations
Reporters, editors and photographers
Dear guest

On behalf of Dr. Mohamed Ahmed Bin Fahad, Chairman of the Zayed Prize Higher Committee - Vice President of World Deserts Foundation, I am honored to welcome you. Thank you for being with us today for the announcement of the "Second Festival of the Cultures and Civilizations of the World Deserts" to be held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates 16-22 April Under the Patronage of H. H. General Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai - U.A.E Minister of Defence – the Zayed Prize Founder and Patron of the Festival.

The Festival is an initiative of the World Deserts Foundation which is spearheading the organization in collaboration with the Dubai Tourism Department and the Dubai Police. Many other National, regional and international organizations will be collaborating or participating in the organization of this festival.

Founded in 1999 by the H.H. General Sheikh Mohamed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown prince of Dubai – UAE Defence Minister, the Zayed International Prize for the Environment is now in its third cycle. It is a foundation, which endeavors to promote sustainable development through various environmental initiatives and activities. In addition to administering the prestigious Prize for the best environmental achievements worldwide, it also organizes regional and international conferences and forums on specific environmental issues, publishes two monthly magazines in Arabic and English, a quarterly refererd book series, a booklet series for children and helps raise environmental awareness through public lectures, seminars, workshops, as well as through school activities and campaigns. Hence, it is just natural that the Zayed Prize is the main umbrella for organizing the "Second Festival of Cultures and Civilizations of World Deserts" in Dubai. I would like to invite you all to nominate qualified candidates, being individuals or organizations, for the third cycle of the prize. Moreover, we would appreciate it if you pass information to all who can participate in our 2006 international conference on "Environmentally Sustainable Tourism" which will be held in tandem with the Award Ceremony of the Third Cycle in February 2006. Information is provided for you in the Submission Guide and the conference brochure.

Regarding the main subject of this press conference, I would like to assure you that this grand festival will become a land mark on the map of festivals and development oriented events worldwide. Several heads of states have been invited by H.H. the Patron, including the Patron of the World Deserts Foundation, the Honorary Mr. Abdulaziz Butafliqa, Algerian President, who will address the Opening Ceremony together with the honorary Mr. Thabo Mbeki, South African President.

This is in addition to directors of UN organizations such as Mr. Koshiro Matsura, Director General of UNESCO, Dr. Klaus Topfer, Executive Director of UNEP and over 70 ministers of Environment, Culture and Tourism who will hold a Ministerial Conference on Sustainable Development in Desert Regions on April 16th, 2005. The Ministerial conference will be held under the Theme of : "Integration of Government Sectors and Civil Society efforts towards sustainable development of Desert Regions". The most important outcome of the festival will also be the main issue to be addressed by the Ministers in this conference; that is the: "The World Deserts Charter on Sustainable Development in Desert Regions", which has been drafted by several organizations and will, after its approval, be presented to the United Nations and other International and Regional Organizations for adoption and integration into conventions and agreements to implement sustainable development in desert regions. Ministerial Conference will also come up with A "Dubai Ministerial Declaration on Combating Desertification for Sustainable Development"

The Scientific Program of the festival is not limited to this Ministerial Conference but it also includes:

A "Regional Roundtable on Harnessing Science, Technology and Innovation of Sustainability" to be held in collaboration with the Academy of Science for Developing Countries (TWAS) of the UNESCO and UNCCD.

A Workshop on Biodiversity and Sustainable Development in Desert Regions, in collaboration with UNEP.

Program of Public lectures and seminars covering:

Desert environment (geology, water resources, biodiversity etc.)
Desert cultures and traditions (traditional conservation, role of women.)
Desert Water Resources
Desert Architecture and modes of buildings
Desert Security

This is in addition to the very rich and exciting cultural program.
A magnificent "Desert Village" is being set up for the activities that will continue for 5 days. Groups of known excellence in the areas of desert arts, folklore, traditions, heritage and Desert Olympics from different countries of the desert regions of the world will perform in this grand event.

In addition to the Charter, we hope to achieve, the following:

1. To draw attention of the desert people and governments to the model of steady socio-economic development in desert regions, being presented by Dubai;
2. To promote Cultural and scientific exchange between the people and governments of the world deserts;
3. To promote tourism and trade between countries of the world deserts;
4. To assess sustainable development strategies in desert regions and to identify constraints encountering their implementation;
5. To develop a set of recommendations for collaboration between the governments, intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations and the UN agencies, in environmental, socio-cultural and economic aspects of sustainable development in desert regions;
6. To develop joint programs of capacity building and raising awareness for sustainable use of natural resources in desert regions.

Please visit the web sites of the Zayed Prize and World Deserts Foundation for Further Information or contact:

Zayed International Prize for the Environment
P.O. Box 28399 Dubai, UAE
Tel.: +971 4 3326666
Fax: +971 4 3326777
E-mail: zayedprz@emirates.net.ae
Web Site: www.zayedprize.org.ae / www.desertsdumonde.org/

Before closing, I would like to extend our gratitude to the President of the World Deserts Foundation, His Excellency/ Mr. Sherif Rahmani for his active role in initiating and promoting this event. The government of Algeria has been very helpful and generous in our endeavor to make this event a success.

Thanks to His Excellency/ The United Arab Emirates Ambassador to Germany who followed with us and facilitated our mission here in Bonn. Thanks to their Excellencies the Diplomats and Heads of Organizations.

Members of the organizing team in the UAE and in Algeria are working very hard in order to see a successful event and this is very much appreciated.

Thanks to the Reporters, editors and photographers who came to share with us the excitement and to reflect our enthusiasm to people all over the world through their powerful media.

Thank you all and I wish you a nice day.

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