ATREE PRESIDENT KAMAL BAWA GETS MIDORI INTERNATIONAL PRIZE IN BIODIVERSITY

Dr. Kamal Bawa, President of ATREE (Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment), Bangalore, and a Distinguished Professor of Biology at the University of Massachusetts, Boston is a recipient of the 2014 MIDORI Prize in Biodiversity. The announcement was made today at the Convention on Biological Diversity Secretariat, Montreal, and at the AEON Environmental Foundation in Japan.

Kamal Bawa will be awarded the prize on 15 October 2014 in Pyeongchang, South Korea, at COP-12, when India, current chair of the Conference of Parties (COP-11) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), will pass the baton to Korea. The theme of this year’s COP-12 meeting is 'Biodiversity for Sustainable Development’. The MIDORI Prize is co-hosted by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the AEON Environmental Foundation and is regarded as a major element ‘at the service of the objectives of the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity 2011-2020.’ India as the chair in the middle of the decade has a major responsibility for conservation of biodiversity globally.

According to the AEON Environmental Foundation, the prize honours individuals who have made outstanding contributions to biodiversity conservation and sustainable use of resources at local and global levels, and raised awareness about biodiversity. The prize carries a cash award of 100,000 USD.

Bawa will receive the MIDORI Prize for his contributions to research in ecology of tropical forests, sustainable use of tropical forests, climate change in the Himalaya; for promoting engagement of civil society in conservation efforts; and for his leadership role in setting up ATREE.

“I am very pleased,” said Dr Bawa. “The prize underscores the importance of biodiversity to humanity and an inclusive and multidimensional approach to biodiversity conservation that my own research program at the University of Massachusetts at Boston, and ATREE in India have advocated during the past few decades,” he said. In 2012, Bawa had also received international recognition as the recipient of the first Gunnerus Award in Sustainability Science, a major international prize.

Dr. Ganesan Balachander, Director of ATREE, says, “Through his research in the tropics, teaching, mentoring scores of students from the global south; scientific papers exceeding a double century; and two magnificent coffee table books on the Western Ghats and the Himalaya, Dr. Bawa has woken up local and global audiences to the perils of the loss of our natural wealth and its associated cultural wealth.”

Dr. Kamaljit Bawa has taught at the University of Massachusetts, Boston for more than 40 years, and has been founder President of ATREE since 1996.

About the MIDORI prize

The AEON Environmental Foundation, Japan, established the MIDORI Prize for Biodiversity in 2010, when it also celebrated its 20th anniversary. The MIDORI Prize is a biennial international prize to honour individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity at global, regional or local levels. The aims of this Prize are to extend the developmental influence of the individual’s efforts to various projects relating to biodiversity throughout the world, and to raise awareness about biodiversity. In principle, the MIDORI Prize is awarded to three individuals. Each prize winner is awarded a wooden plaque, a commemorative gift and a monetary prize of 100,000 US dollars.

The MIDORI Prize is being co-organized with the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity since 2012.

About Dr. Kamal Bawa

Kamaljit S. Bawa is Distinguished Professor of Biology at the University of Massachusetts Boston, and Founder-President of the Bangalore-based Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE) that has been ranked as Asia’s #1 environment think tank. He has published more than 200 scientific papers and 10 authored or edited books and monographs. Among the many awards he has received are: Giorgio Ruffolo Fellowship at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, Charles Bullard (twice) and Maria Moor Cabot Fellowships at Harvard Forest, Guggenheim Fellowship, Pew Scholar in Conservation and the Environment, the world’s first prize in sustainability—the Gunnerus Award in Sustainability Science from the Royal Norwegian Society of Letters and Sciences. The two professional societies in his field, the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation, and Society for Conservation Biology have bestowed on him their highest awards. The Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation elected him as its President and then as an Honorary Fellow; he has received the Distinguished Service Award from the Society for Conservation Biology. The University of Massachusetts, Boston has honoured him twice: he has received the Chancellor’s Award for distinction in scholarship as well as the Chancellor’s Award for distinction in professional service. In 2014, the University of Alberta honoured him by conferring an honorary Doctor of Science degree. Kamal Bawa is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Royal Norwegian Society of Letters and Sciences. He has headed or served on a number scientific of panels, and he currently serves on the governing boards of several national and international organizations. His second coffee-table book, Himalaya: Mountains of Life, a sequel to Sahyadris: India’s Western Ghats, was published in January 2013. www.kbawa.com

About ATREE

ATREE is a research institute whose mission is to promote socially just environmental conservation and sustainable development by generating rigorous interdisciplinary knowledge that engages actively with academia, policy makers, practitioners, activists, students and wider public audiences. ATREE works primarily in the hotspots of the Western Ghats and eastern Himalayas. It provides an interface between on-ground practice and policies through long-term engagements with local communities at its field stations.

ATREE is headed by President, Dr Kamal Bawa and Director, Dr Ganesan Balachander.