Abidjan, Wednesday 27 May 2015 – WWF awarded its prestigious Leaders for a Living Planet award to Donald Kaberuka, outgoing African Development Bank (AfDB) President, in recognition of his bold steps to mainstream sustainability concerns and champion the fight against illicit wildlife trade during his tenure at the African Development Bank. At a colorful luncheon on the sidelines of the AfDB’s Annual Meetings, Marco Lambertini, WWF Director General gave tribute to Mr Kaberuka‘s effort to stem the increasing large-scale illegal trade on the continent.
Donald Kaberuka is widely recognized for his call for urgent action to tackle the severe crimes of poaching and the illegal pillaging of the natural resources of the African continent. At the London Conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade in February 2014, Mr Kaberuka said: “Our people, our natural resources and our very economic development are in danger. The illegal trade in wildlife is undermining the foundations of our development, its natural resources”.
At the Marrakesh AfDB Annual Meetings in 2013, AfDB called on governments, businesses and civil society to urgently mobilize in this fight to protect the biodiversity of Africa. “I call on all leaders in Africa and elsewhere to invest in the future of our region, by all possible means, to strengthen law enforcement and criminal justice for these crimes,” Kaberuka urged in Marrakesh. The AfDB President has repeatedly stressed how much this fight, going beyond governments, institutions and associations, concerns all Africans.
WWF’s Leaders for a Living Planet award aims to recognize the individuals who make a significant personal contribution to the conservation of the natural world and sustainable development. WWF publicly celebrates these individuals and their achievements to profile their environmental leadership and the inspiring example they show to others.
The award is symbolic. It enables WWF to congratulate individuals and their achievements, together with the government, company, community or organization they represent, and to encourage further action. Over 100 such awards have been made since 2000, recognizing a wide variety of initiatives. These range from local actions to protect wildlife to the leadership of government ministers to achieve specific conservation goals such as sustainable fisheries and new protected areas. Recent high-level recipients include Kofi Annan, the former UN Secretary-General, as well as the Minister of Fisheries of Norway, the Vice-Premier of China, and the Ministers of Water Affairs of France, Togo and Benin.
“The actions of individuals recognized as WWF Leaders for a Living Planet demonstrate visionary environmental leadership and personal responsibility to protect the planet, for a future where people and nature thrive. Donald Kaberuka is an extremely inspiring example – as a leader who is working to create a better world for current and future generations, leading the African Development Bank toward green growth and sustainable development,” said Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International.
Donald Kaberuka, President, African Development Bank receives the WWF Leader for a Living Planet award presented by Marco Lambertini, WWF Director General at the 2015 AfDB Annual Meetings in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. Looking on is Hawa Sow, WWF Africa Institutional Partnerships Lead.