Sophie Prize Ceremony June 5th 2007

Speech by Minister of Environment Helen Bjørnøy

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

First of all: Happy World Environment Day to you all!

Norway is proud to host this year’s international celebrations.

We have worked with UNEP to promote our theme - melting ice and snow – all over the world.

We have joined forces with important partners – such as the Sophie Foundation and former Sophie Prize winners – to bring home the message that we must act now to secure a sustainable future.

Over the last nine years, the Sophie Prize has shown us that there are many forms of action  -and that we need them all.

We have been inspired by individuals and organisations coming from different sectors of society – and from different parts of the world.

It is therefore good to see so many former Sophie Prize winners gathered here today.

In its tenth year, the Sophie board has - as always - made a timely and relevant statement.

The Sophie Prize 2007 pays tribute to action in the form of high-level political leadership on climate change – one of the largest challenges of our time.

Gøran Persson, you used your leadership to set ambitious climate change goals. You used your leadership to cut greenhouse gas emissions. This makes you an inspiration to us all.

This Prize honours your role and results in Sweden. It is at the same time an important signal to all Governments and political leaders all over the world. It is also a special reminder that rich countries – like ours – must take a lead on climate change. This is necessary if we are to agree upon a broad and ambitious future global regime, after the Kyoto period.

I congratulate the Sophie Prize founders, board and laureates with 10 successful years – and wish you continued success.  

I offer my heartfelt congratulations to you, Gøran Persson, and invite you to step forward to receive the Sophie Prize for 2007. Congratulations!