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

Thursday 31st of March 2005

Paris, 12 January 2005
Dr. Mohamed Ahmed Bin Fahad
Chairman of the Higher Committee, Zayed Prize
Vice President , World Deserts Foundation

His Excellency/ Mr. Sherif Rahmani
Algerian Minister of Environment
President of the World Deserts Foundation
His Excellency/ The United Arab Emirates Ambassador to France
Excellencies the Diplomats and Heads of Organizations
Members of the organizing team
Reporters, editors and photographers
Dear guests

I am honored to welcome you and convey to you the regards of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Eimirates, His Highness Sheikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President – Prime Minister – Ruler of Dubai Emirate and His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown prince of Dubai – UAE Defence Minister - the Zayed Prize Founder and Patron. Thank you for being with us today for the announcement of the "Second Festival of the Cultures and Civilizations of the World Desets" to be held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates next April Under the Patronage of H. H. General Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai - U.A.E Minister of Defence –Patron of Zayed Prize. The Festival is an initiative of the World Deserts Foundation which will spearhead 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 theH.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 referred 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 candidiates, being individuals or organizations, for this 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, being distributed.

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. Six 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, Their honor the South African and Nigerian Presidents, Their Majesty the Kings of Jordan and Bahrain, his Royal Highness Prince Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Second Deputy Prime Minister – Minister of Defence and Aviation, Saudi Arabia and United Nations Secretary General, Mr. Kofi Annan. 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 Dubai Charter for 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.

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 Third World Academy of Science (TWAS) of the UNESCO.

A Workshop on the Challenges of Sustainable Development In Desert Regions, in collaboration with UNEP and UNCCD.

A Program of Public lectures and seminars covering:

Desert environment (geology, water resources, biodiversity etc.)
Desert cultures and traditions (traditional conservation, role of women)
Desert Civilizations and Climate Change (past and present)

This is in addition to the very rich and exciting cultural program.The organizers are going to set up a magnificient "Desert Village" 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 are being invited through the ambassadors from different countries of the desert regions of the world in the UAE to participate in this grand event, hoping to achieve, in addition to the Charter, 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 helpfull and generous in our endeavour to make this event a success.

Thanks to His Excellency/ The United Arab Emirates Ambassador to France who followed with us and facilitated our mission here in France.
Thank you your 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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