The 2017 Prince Albert II Foundation Awards Ceremony was held in Canada at the Montreal Imperial Cinema. Since 2008, the Foundation has awarded individuals and institutions for their exemplary involvement in the Foundation’s three priority areas of intervention: water, biodiversity and climate change. “I created these Prizes to give all my support to the exceptional men and women who are committed to saving our planet,” said the HSH the Sovereign Prince.
2017 Water Award Winner: Ibrahim Assane Mayaki
Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, from the Republic of Niger is the current Chief Executive Officer of the NEPAD Agency. Appointed in January 2009, he has since transformed his agency and made it a preferred partner for development program implementation in Africa within the international community. Under his leadership over the last eight years, the agency has made an enormous amount of progress in Youth Initiatives, Natural Resource Governance, Science & Technology and Infrastructure on the African continent. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki has vast experience as a researcher, civil servant and academic. He has a Master’s degree from the National School of Public Administration (ENAP) from Quebec and a Doctorate in Administrative Sciences from the University of Paris I. In 1996, he was appointed Minister of African Integration and Cooperation and became Foreign Minister in 1997. He subsequently held the position of Prime Minister of Niger for three years. After being Prime Minister, he pioneered the Public Policy Analysis Centre in Niger, a think tank which leads discussions on issues concerning health and education. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki also worked as a professor of public administration in Niger and Venezuela and a visiting Professor at the University of Paris IX, where he gave conferences on International Relations and Organizations. He also conducted research at the Centre for Research on Europe and the Contemporary World at the same university. In 2004, he put these activities on hold when he was appointed as executive director of the Rural Hub, a platform and think tank for the application of rural development in West and Central Africa, based in Dakar, Senegal.
2017 Biodiversity Award Winner: African Parks
African Parks is a conservation NGO, created in 2000 to respond to the scarcity of properly managed protected areas on the African continent. It is the only NGO which takes on the complete responsibility for the rehabilitation and long-term management of national parks and protected areas, on behalf of governments, to conserve wildlife, restore wild landscapes and ensure sustainability for local communities. With 11 parks under management in eight countries in Africa, covering 6.5 million hectares, they manage the largest conservation area as well as the largest ranger force out of any NGO on the continent. African Parks recently completed the largest elephant relocation, moving 520 elephants to their new home in Malawi. They reintegrated lions and rhinos to a park in Rwanda after decades of being extinct and increased tourism revenue there by 550%. They have essentially stopped elephant poaching in the Zakouma National Park in Chad, where the elephant population is on the rise for the first time in over a decade. African Parks provides a multitude of benefits for local communities, including employment, constructing schools, deploying mobile health clinics and enterprise development which creates sustainability, all of which lifts public opinion in favour of the conservation and support for parks.
African Parks pioneered the Public-Private Partnership model for protected area management in Africa and ensure that each park is ecologically, socially and financially sustainable for future generations. Their goal is to manage 20 parks by 2020, protecting more than 10 million hectares of wild and functioning landscapes across the continent.
2017 Climate Change Award: Sheila Watt-Cloutier
Sheila Watt-Cloutier is the former elected Chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Council, an organization which internationally represents the 155,000 Inuit people of Canada, Greenland, Alaska and Chukotka, at the far north-eastern point of the Russian Federation. She lived in Iqaluit, Nunavut for 15 years and since returned to live in her home town of Kuujjuaq, Quebec. Sheila Watt-Cloutier has always made a point of taking a holistic approach to youth issues. She was elected as a representative and spokesperson for the Inuit people for over a decade. From 1995 to 1998, she was General Secretary of the Makivik Corporation, established within the framework of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement, signed in 1975. Defending the rights of the Inuit people was one of the priorities of her mandate following her election as president of ICC Canada in 1995 and her re-election in 1998. She played a key role as spokesperson for the coalition of northern indigenous peoples in negotiations which led to the 2001 Stockholm Convention, banning the production and use of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) which contaminate the Arctic food chain. In 2002, Sheila Watt-Cloutierwas elected as International Chair of the ICC. She contributed to the of Institutional Development for Indigenous Peoples of Northern Russia project with ICC Canada
Over the las 7 last years, Sheila Watt-Cloutier continues to inform the entire world that the Inuit people will not be destroyed by the spread of globalisation, by calling upon the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights to defend the rights of Inuit people against the impacts of climate change. Her pioneering work has been recognized by awards from the UN. In February 2007, she was publicly nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by members of the Norwegian Parliament.
2017 Special Prizes: John Kerry for his outstanding work on climate change and Luc Jacquet, the film-maker behind March of the Penguins.