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​The Zayed International Foundation for the Environment has signed a partnership and cooperation agreement with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

The training session started by opening remarks made by Dr. Mohamed Bin Fahad, Chairman of Zayed International Foundation for the Environment, and Mr. Eisa, UNIDO Representative-South Africa. It has been mentioned that the main objectives are: to bring awareness and support the technical capacities of the technical experts from the region.

The agreement was signed by Achim Steiner, Under-Secretary- General of the United Nations and UNEP Executive Director and Prof. Dr. Mohammed Ahmed bin Fahad, Chairman of the Higher Committee of the Zayed Foundation, in the presence of Jiri Hlavacek, Deputy Director, Division of Regional Cooperation,and Naomi Poulton, Deputy Director, Division of Communications and Public Information (DCPI), and members of the Zayed Foundation delegation including Dr. Meshgan Al Awar, Secretary General of the Zayed International Prize for the Environment, and Dr. Saad Eddin Mohamed Al Numairi, a member of the Higher Committee of the institution.

Accordingly UNEP is prepared to receive and administer the contribution of US$ 140,000 for technical and secretariat support towards the organisation of the Zayed Prize 6th Cycle, the InternationalConference and Exhibition on Sustainable Living, the Awards ceremony, two regional workshops and Zayed Prize 2013-2015international activities.

According to Dr. Mohammed bin Fahd, this agreement with the United Nations Environment Programme seeks to intensify cooperation between the two organisations to prepare for the sixth session of the Zayed International Prize for the Environment, in addition to coordinating the joint organization of local, regional and international eventsassociated with the award ceremony, and with the preparations for the organisation of the International Conference and Exhibition on Sustainable Living which incorporates many environmental themes such as sustainable production and consumption patterns.

Speaking at the event, Dr. Bin Fahad pointed out that the Zayed International Prize for the Environment, founded and patroned by His Highness SheikhMohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, recognises and promotes major pioneering contributions in the field of environment and sustainable development.

The Zayed Prize is now recognized internationally as one of the most important contributions of the United Arab Emirates towards global efforts to promote sustainable development, he said, as it reflects the great concern of its leaders and people about theenvironmental issues at all levels.

He added that under the stewardship of the Higher Committee, the Zayed Foundation has been and continues to be a window of achievements promoting environmental protection worldwide and has managed during the last 14 years to leave its own print on environmental path, making it occupy a prominent place in the international environmental arena.

Dr. Bin Fahad further elaborated that the award, which bears the name of the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, reflects the prestige enjoyed by the environment in this country and that it serves as an incentive to encourage global initiatives and environmental achievements that have substantial impact on policies and actions of development in line with the vision and development philosophy of the late Sheikh Zayed, who was an internationally recognised advocate of nature and wildlife.

Moreover, Bin Fahd said that the award nominations in its inaugural cycle totaled 208 from 66 countries. Of these, the shortlisted 20 were presented before the international jury which met on November 26, 2000 at the Jumeriah Beach Hotel in Dubai under the chairmanship of HE Dr. Klaus Toepfer, who stressed the importance of the Zayed Prize, describing it as the biggest environmental award in the world which reflects the commitment of the UAE and its president and patron of the award towards the protection of environment and sustainable development at the local, regional and global levels.

Strengthening media cooperation

The Zayed Foundation delegation also met with Jiri Hlavacek, Deputy Director, Division of Regional Cooperation and discussed the various regional events that will help contribute to the promotion of Zayed Foundation during the next two years. Dr. Bin Fahad also reviewed various aspects of the ongoing cooperation between UNEP and the Zayed Foundation

In their meeting with Moses Tefula, Chief, Budget & Finance in the Office for Operations and Corporate Services, the Zayed Foundation discussed ways on making efficient use of financial contributions at the previously agreed events to achieve the goals as outlined in the Donor Agreement signed between the Zayed Foundation and UNEP.

Dr. Bin Fahad pointed out that the Zayed Foundation was fully aware of the importance of recognising sustainable development as a key pathway to environmental protection and economic prosperity to achieve the vision of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

The experience of the past years have proved that the economic growth of the world came at the expense of environmental resources, and economic development, in order to fulfil its role as the third dimension in the triangle of sustainable development, must take into account the other dimensions namely the social dimension through the provision of employment and the eradication of poverty, and the environmental dimension by the preservation of environmental resources.

He further added that the outcome document for Rio+20, entitled ‘The Future We Want’ has affirmed fundamental principles by renewing essential commitments and that it provides a firm foundation for social, economic and environmenta well-being.

Apart from launching a process to establish sustainable development goals, it also details how the green economy can be used as a tool to achieve sustainable development. Rio+20 has given us a new direction and a solid platform to build on, he said, adding that the UAE has paved the way for the approach of Green Economy through its integration in the UAE Vision 2021 as a strategy for responsible government and has focused on the same principles of social, economic and environmental values thereby underpinning the importance of sustainable development.

It is worth mentioning that the United Nations Environment Programme was established in 1972, as a voice for the environment in the framework of the United Nations system. The program is a catalyst and serves to promote the wise use of the environment in the world and support sustainable development. To achieve this, the program works with a wide range of partners, including participants from various United Nations organizations, international and local governments, non-governmental organizations, the private sector and other civil society organizations.

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