|Letter to The Nobel Foundation|
The Nobel Foundation
SE-102 45 Stockholm
Dear members of the board,
First and foremost we would like to congratulate you with the important and valuable work of the Nobel foundation. For more than a hundred years the Nobel Prizes are among the most prestigious acknowledgements any scientist, writer or politician can receive.
Alfred Nobel surely was a visionary man, stating explicitly that "in awarding the prizes no consideration be given to the nationality of the candidates, but that the most worthy shall receive the prize."
Today, we are calling on you to consider the possibility of taking another visionary step by installing a Nobel Prize for Sustainable Development.
The original Nobel prizes have been subject to change in the course of time. In 1968 the Bank of Sweden instituted the Prize in Economic Sciences to complete the original prizes. Through these changes the foundation showed its ability to adapt to changing views. But the main idea behind the prizes always remained the same: awarding people who, through their work, improved the lives of mankind.
In our view one of the most important conditions to guarantee the quality of life is sustainable development meaning: a better quality of life for everyone, now and for generations to come. According to a widely accepted approach this means:
- social progress which recognises the needs of everyone;
- effective protection of the environment;
- prudent use of natural resources;
- maintenance of high and stable levels of economic growth and employment.
Environmental deterioration is not only a threat to the quality of life today but even more so to that of generations to come. Climate changes, desertification, lack of clean water and loss of biodiversity already threaten our world. And, as the Johannesburg declaration states: "globalisation has added a new dimension to these challenges. The rapid integration of markets, mobility of capital and significant increases in investment flows around the world have opened new challenges and opportunities for the pursuit of sustainable development. But the benefits and costs of globalisation are unevenly distributed, with developing countries facing special difficulties in meeting this challenge".
We, people from many different nations and with different backgrounds, are calling for installing a Prize for Sustainable Development in Memory of Alfred Nobel. This goal could be reached by installing a new Prize or by adapting the Prize for economics to the Prize for economics and sustainable development. We would like to invite the Worldbank and the IMF to help us find ways to finance this new prize.
Together it should be possible to underline the importance of sustainable development by recognizing people who dedicate their work to this important subject with the most prestigious prize of all: the Nobel Prize.
Boris van der Ham (Member of Parliament, NL),
Chris Davies (Member of the European Parliament, UK),
His Holiness The Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso (Winner of 1989 Nobel Prize in Peace),
Ingrid Aaldijk (Former Youth UN-representative),
Dr. Bedrich Moldan (Former Chairman of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development),
The Body Shop International,
James Greenwood (US-Congressman),
Dr. Jan Pronk (Chairman of the UN Climate Change Conference),
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN),
Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO),
Earth Day Network,
The Northern Alliance for Sustainability (ANPED),
John Barret and Ian Gibson (Members of Parliament UK),
Lester R. Brown (President of the Earth Policy Institute),
European Fair Trade Association (EFTA),
Earth Charter Initiative