The Goldman Environmental Prize 2009 and Rizwana Hasan

The Goldman Environmental Prize was established in 1989 by San Francisco civic leader and philanthropist Richard N. Goldman and his late wife, Rhoda H. Goldman. It has been awarded to 133 people from 75 countries.

Prize winners are selected by an international jury from confidential nominations submitted by a worldwide network of environmental organizations and individuals.

The Goldman Environmental Prize, now in its 20th year, is awarded annually to environmental heroes from each of the world’s six inhabited continental regions and is the largest award of its kind with a cash prize of $150,000.

Since receiving a Goldman Prize, eight winners have been appointed or elected to national office in their countries, including several who became ministers of the environment. The 1991 Goldman Prize winner for Africa, Wangari Maathai, won the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize.

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This year Syeda Rizwana Hasan, chief executive of BELA, has been awarded the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize 2009 for the Asia region, recognising her public interest work in the conservation of the environment.

As Bangladesh’s leading environmental attorney, Rizwana’s legal advocacy for tighter regulations for the country’s environmentally devastating ship-breaking industry in particular, makes her one of six winners of the world’s largest prize for environmentalists this year.

“This group of Goldman Prize recipients is as impressive as ever, taking on seemingly insurmountable struggles and achieving success,” said Goldman Prize founder Richard N. Goldman. “In this, our 20th year, we are pleased to bring attention to their courageous work.”

This year’s recipients include Maria Gunnoe, a born-and-bred West Virginian who faces death threats for her outspoken activism to stop the coal industry’s plunder of Appalachia via mountain top removal and valley fills in the US. Another recipient, Marc Ona, a wheelchair-bound civil society leader from the West African country of Gabon, faces arrest, imprisonment and public character assaults for his unyielding campaign to stop a destructive mining concession in a protected national park.

Sent by:

Bahreen Khan
Lawyer, BELA

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