Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), the New Delhi (India)-based independent research and advocacy think tank, has been named the recipient of the prestigious Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development for the year 2018. The award was announced today by an international jury headed by former President of India, Pranab Mukherjee.
As per the announcement, CSE has been awarded for “its pioneering work over almost four decades in environmental education and protection, for its steadfast advocacy of measures to combat environmental deterioration, for its success in influencing public policies and programmes that have benefitted social and economic development in India, and for keeping the issue of environmental sustainability at the forefront of national attention and public policy.”
Responding to the announcement, Sunita Narain, director general, CSE said: “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. It is a recognition as well of the imminent threats that the world faces today – of insecurity due to climate change, inequitable development, and rapid and growing environmental degradation.”
The award announcement echoes these sentiments: “As the world and particularly India face growing challenges that threaten the future of the planet, CSE has built up the expertise and credibility to make a difference. Its programmes have achieved important public health outcomes in several areas of vital impact.” CSE has accepted this award in the memory of Indira Gandhi, who was the architect of the country’s environmental framework. Narain. “It is the politics of environment that needs to be understood in this world that is today deeply divided and increasingly insecure,” she added.
Past recipients of this award include illustrious personalities and institutions like 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); Vaclav Havel, president of the Czech Republic (1993); Jimmy Carter, former president of the US (1997); UN and its secretary-general Kofi Annan (2003); Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany (2013); and the Indian Space Research Organisation (2014). The 2017 Prize had gone to former Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh. My colleagues and I are humbled to join this list of changemakers, says Narain.