Jane Goodall Awarded UNESCO’s 60th Anniversary Medal
PARIS, France, January 18, 2006 (ENS) - Dr. Jane Goodall renowned primatologist, humanitarian, and United Nations Messenger of Peace was presented with the UNESCO 60th Anniversary Medal on Tuesday for her lifelong dedication to the preservation of Africa’s endangered apes.
Dr. Goodall’s work encompasses her famous, groundbreaking chimpanzee research as well as conservation and sustainable development programs and youth education.
The Jane Goodall Institute’s community-centered conservation programs partner with local communities in eastern and central Africa on projects such as tree nurseries, sustainable agriculture and agroforestry, and small-loan programs for women.
Its global Roots & Shoots program supports young people in more than 95 countries as they learn about problems in their communities and take action. The Institute also helps care for orphaned chimpanzees in two African sanctuaries.
Dr. Goodall travels an average 300 days per year, speaking about the threats facing chimpanzees, the environment, and her reasons for hope that humankind will solve the problems it has imposed on the Earth. She continually urges her audiences to recognize their ability to effect change.
"Ms. Goodall’s untiring work to preserve the great apes of Africa in their natural environment fits perfectly with UNESCO’s work in favor of the environment and of sustainable development," said UNESCO Director General Koïchiro Matsuura.
"Ms. Goodall was one of the first people to sound the alarm regarding the serious danger facing the great apes that provide us with a direct link to humanity’s past," he said.
UNESCO and the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) have been coordinating the Great Apes Survival Project (GRASP) of which the Jane Goodall Institute has been a patron since 2001. The project’s goal is to reduce pressure on Africa’s primates.
According to a report by the UNEP, 90 percent of the apes’ remaining forest habitat will be lost by 2030 if road building, construction of mining camps and other infrastructure developments continue at current rates.
Goodall has been a researcher and champion of chimpanzees and other primates since she first arrived in Africa in 1960 at the age of 26. Only 400,000 great apes survive today, compared to two million 50 years ago and experts predict their extinction within three to five decades, unless present trends are reversed.
UNESCO and the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) have been coordinating the Great Apes Survival Project (GRASP), of which The Jane Goodall Institute – a global non profit organization – has been a patron, since 2001.
The project, like the Jane Goodall Institute, is seeking to reduce pressure on Africa’s primates. According to report by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), 90 percent of the apes’ remaining forest habitat will be lost by 2030 if road building, construction of mining camps and other infrastructure developments continue at current rates.
In addition, UNESCO and the European Space Agency are operating a project known as Build Environment for Gorilla, BEGo, using Earth observation technology to map and monitor the apes’ often inaccessible habitat in Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
UNESCO’s 60th Anniversary Medal, struck this year to commemorate the organization’s anniversary, has been awarded so far to French anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss, and to former UNESCO Directors-General Federico Mayor and Amadou-Mahtar M’Bow.
Founded in 1977, the Jane Goodall Institute continues Dr. Goodall’s pioneering research into chimpanzee behavior - research that transformed scientific perceptions of the relationship between humans and animals.
Today, the Institute is recognized for establishing innovative conservation and development programs in Africa and the Roots & Shoots education program, which has groups in more than 95 countries. For more information, visit: www.janegoodall.org.
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