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Delhi-based environment think-tank CSE will be honoured with Indira Gandhi Prize

Delhi-based environment think-tank CSE will be honoured with the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development this year for its work in environmental education and protection.

According to the Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust Monday, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has been awarded the prize for its steadfast advocacy of measures to combat environmental deterioration and for its success in influencing public policies and programmes that have benefitted social and economic development in India.

The international jury, chaired by former president Pranab Mukherjee, decided to give the award to CSE also for keeping the issue of environmental sustainability at the forefront of national attention and public policy, a statement from the trust said.

After the announcement, Director General, CSE, Sunita Narain said she and her colleagues are humbled to join this list of changemakers and asserted that it (the award) is a recognition of the imminent threats that the world faces today -- of insecurity due to climate change, inequitable development, and growing environmental degradation.

"We are truly honoured by this recognition and thank the jury for acknowledging CSE's role in the environmental movement in India. CSE's selection for this prize also points to the significant imperative of environmental issues in our lives," she said.

"The Iron Lady of India provided us with the institutional and legislative foundation for environmental protection in the country. But most importantly, she understood the environmentalism of the poor, which is based on principles of minimal impact and builds sustainable livelihoods for the most marginalised," Narain said.

"It is the politics of environment that needs to be understood in this world that is today deeply divided and increasingly insecure," she added.

In a statement, the CSE said it has accepted this award in the memory of Indira Gandhi, who was the architect of the country's environmental framework.

The award is accorded annually by the Trust to individuals or organisations in recognition of creative efforts toward promoting international peace, development and a new international economic order, ensuring that scientific discoveries are used for the larger good of humanity, and enlarging the scope of freedom.

Established in 1980 under the leadership of late Anil Aggarwal and presently headed by Narain has been working for the last four decades to incorporate environmental sustainability into development policies.

It has worked on extending awareness and education about environmental issues, on air and water pollution, wastewater management and industrial pollution, food safety and energy, climate change and above all in influencing official policy and public actions for sustainable development, the statement said.

Its programmes have achieved important public health outcomes in several areas of vital impact, including air pollution, sustainable industrialisation programme, sustainable water management and sanitation, climate change and food and toxins programme, it said.

The CSE said the past recipients of this award include Mikhail Gorbachev, general secretary of the Communist Party of the (then) Soviet Union (1987), Gro Harlem Brundtland, prime minister of Norway (1988), the UNICEF (1989), Jimmy Carter, former president of the US (1997), UN and its secretary-general Kofi Annan (2003), Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany (2013).

Last year's prize was given to former prime minister Manmohan Singh.

(With inputs from agencies.)

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