Atiq Rahman wins UN environment award
Wednesday, 30 January 2008


Environmentalist Dr Atiq Rahman has been named one of the recipients of the UNEP ‘Champion of the Earth 2008’ award.

The names of this year’s seven champions were announced Monday in the Kenyan capital Nairobi.

‘I am happy. I feel proud as a Bangladeshi to achieve the award,’ Atiq told the news agency after being notified by the United Nations Environment Programme of the award.

‘The UN has honoured Bangladesh with recognition, that it is possible to form an international standard research centre with the manpower of such a poor country like Bangladesh.’

‘No one should think that good work is not possible as the country is poor. We have been able to prove this isn’t true,’ Atiq said.

The UN Environment Programme has been giving the ‘Champions of the Earth’ award since 2004.

Previous award winners include Michael Gorbachev, Al Gore and Prince Hassan Bin Talal of Jordan.

Bangladesh’s campaigning environmentalist and researcher is the second Asian to receive the UN award after former vice-president of Iran Masumeh Ebteker.

Atiq was awarded for his research on the management of environment and development of natural resources.

Atiq Rahman went to London in 1974 with a Commonwealth scholarship for a PhD. He stayed for 14 years, and also taught at Oxford University.

He returned to Bangladesh in 1986 to establish the ‘Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies’. After staying abroad for some time, he came back home in 1988.

‘I dreamt of establishing an international research centre utilising our own particular resources – our manpower,’ Atiq said, adding that his main concern was to represent domestic as well as international and global issues.

On the position of Bangladesh in climate change and environment Atiq said, ‘Bangladesh is among the highest risk countries.’

‘If the sea level increases just one metre one-fifth of the country will be inundated. Some 2.5 crore (25 million) people will be turned into environmental refugees.’

‘Overall food security will be threatened. Preparations to face that should be made now.’

Those who are responsible should also compensate for the disasters of the world, Atiq added.

Speaking of the research institute he founded, Atiq said BCAS is working in four areas – poverty alleviation through strengthening livelihoods; economic growth though public-private partnership; good governance through participation of people; and positive impact on environment through combination of these three issues.

On the significant works of BCAS, Atiq said one was creating awareness among the public for a flood action plan, another was studying the environmental impact of Jamuna Bridge.

‘We have also worked with the government and non-governmental organisations in creating a national environment action plan,’ Atiq said.

‘We have conducted research and campaigned on the impact of climate change on the people.’

BCAS has produced as many as 50 major publications so far, many of them used as university textbooks at home and abroad.

Atiq announced the winning of the award on Monday at a press conference held at his BCAS office at Gulshan.

The UN under-secretary general and UNEP executive director, Achim Steiner, notified Atiq of the award in a letter, he told reporters.

The award will be officially handed to the winners on April 22 in Singapore.

The award is being announced ahead of the special session of the Governing Council of UNEP, that is slated to be held on February 20 in Monaco. Several hundreds of representatives will join the programme.

The other ‘Champion of the Earth 2008’ award winners are New Zealand’s prime minister Helen Clark, senior researcher at Sudan’s Higher Council for Environment and Natural Resources Balgis Osman Elaasha, former energy and environment minister of Barbados Henrietta Elizabeth Thomson, secretary general of the Yemen People’s General Congress Abdul Quader Ba-Jammal, former United States senator Timothy E Wirth and Prince Albert the Second of Monaco.

Comments Add New
Shah Turjo  - Feeling Proud of Dr Atiq Rahman |2009-05-14 08:35:42
im really happy to know that it is one of the greatest award achieved by a Bangladeshi. im feeling proud of him. may Dr Atiq Rahman long live and reach his dream.
Shah Turjo  - Congratulations to Dr Atiq Rahman |2009-05-14 08:37:00
im really happy to know that it is one of the greatest award achieved by a Bangladeshi. im feeling proud of him. may Dr Atiq Rahman long live and reach his dream.
Aminul  - Congratumations to Dr Atiq Rahman |2009-10-31 15:23:47
What more a good news can be than this. this is a contribution for the whole humankind. Very smiley lovely guy delivers scientific findings like funny story. Great quality, i wish i would work with his supervision.
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