Award Ceremony of the Onassis Prize for the Environment at the City Hall of Hamburg (2010)


Environmental Protection

In Hamburg, on May 28 2009, City Mayor Ole von Beust, City Senator for the Environment Anja Hajduk and Onassis Foundation President Anthony S. Papadimitriou announced the future awarding of Aristotle Onassis Prize for the Protection of the Environment, speaking at Hamburg City Hall.

The prize is endowed by the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation and is to be awarded in Hamburg every two years, carrying an award of EUR 250,000.
The prize will award persons or organizations for outstanding contributions towards protecting and improving the environment, including the long-term economical use of energy. The prize will acknowledge either completed or promising ongoing projects, ensuring their successful completion with the economic support of the prize. Persons involved in political parties or initiatives politically centred will not be evaluated, whereas priority will be given to scientific projects within the framework of the EU.

The first Aristotle Onassis Prize for the Protection of the Environment will be bestowed in November 2010.

City Mayor Ole von Beust commented: Our efforts to protect the climate, resources and the environment are increasingly respected, including outside Germany. With the Aristotle Onassis Prize for the Protection of the Environment, we are now seeing a major international environmental prize coming to Hamburg for the first time. The internationally-constituted nominations committee under the chairmanship of City Senator for Urban Development and the Environment Anja Hajduk is outstanding, from the Hamburg viewpoint, in recruiting Dr. Michael Otto and ZEIT journalist Christiane Grefe alongside international scientists.
City Senator Anja Hajduk added, In view of the massive challenges of climate change and in environmental policy, the Aristotle Onassis Prize for the Protection of the Environment comes at just the right time. It aims to publicise outstanding research and projects in this area and to offer solutions. The new environmental prize will be a further advertisement for Hamburg's competence in relation to protection of the environment and the climate.

Anthony S. Papadimitriou, President of the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation stated, The Onassis Foundation and the City of Hamburg share a bond which goes back to the period when the undisputed leading shipping personality of the 20th century, Aristotle Onassis, was expanding his business. Among his pioneering initiatives in the early 1950s has been the order for the construction of a series of tankers in German shipyards, thus offering this industry the significant opportunity for revival and growth. In present time, both the Onassis Foundation and the City of Hamburg share as a priority the concern for major issues concerning the protection of the environment. For those reasons, we were already looking at Hamburg as a potentially suitable venue for the awarding of the Aristotle Onassis Prize for the Protection of the Environment. What rapidly convinced us were the major efforts being made by Hamburg to link together urban development, climate and environmental protection. Our prize is genuinely at home here.

The International Prize Committee comprises of the following members:

•    Ms. Anja Hajduk, Senator of Urban Development and Environment
•    Dr. Anthony Papadimitriou, President of the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation
•    Mrs. Christiane Grefe, journalist (Die Zeit)
•    Prof. Petros Koutrakis, Ph.D., School of Public Health, Director of the Exposure, Epidemiology and Risk Program, Harvard University
•    Mr. Mojib Latif, Ph.D., Professor at the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences
•    Dr. Michael Otto, Hamburg entrepreneur, President of the WWF in Germany
•    Prof. Michael Scoullos, Ph.D., Professor of Environmental Chemistry, University of Athens
•    Mrs. Christine von Weizsäcker, biologist
•    Ms. Jacqueline McGlade, Managing Director of the European Environment Agency (EEA) 

For further information concerning the Prize, please contact:

Contact person in Hambourg

Prof. Ulrich Magnus
Telephone number: 0049 40 42 838 54 24
FAX: 0049 40 42 838 6262

Contact person in Greece

Onassis Foundation
Frederique Hadgiantoniou
Telephone number: 210 37 13 018

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The City of Hamburg with a population of about 1.8 million, is Germany's second largest city and has an integrated and participative planning strategy and a strong commitment towards a green vision. As a result, after a race between 35 candidate cities, the City of Hamburg has earned the prestigious title of the European Green Capital 2011. Hamburg always seeks green answers to metropolitan challenges and has innovative ideas on how to share experience and best practice as the European Green Capital of 2011. Between the green practices of the city, the following are highlighted:

As far as massive energy savings is concerned, the climate protection goals are ambitious such as reducing its CO2 emissions by 40% by 2020 and by 80% by the year 2050. Annual energy savings of some 46,000 MWh is a major achievement for such a big city.

The city also supports an excellent public transport network and has also achieved high environmental standards and good performance levels in terms of cycling and public transport indicators. Almost all citizens have access to optimal public transport within 300 meters of their given location.

The city has set very ambitious future plans which promise additional improvements.

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Awards Ceremony

The environmental organization "Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME)" is the first organization chosen as the winner of the Onassis Prize for the Protection of the Environment, which was established in May 2009. The official award ceremony will take place in the City Hall of Hamburg, on November 17, 2010.

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