Speech by Minister of the Environment Ms. Siri Bjerke

Oslo Sophie Prize Ceremony June 14, 2000

Prize winner Sheri Liao, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It was with great pleasure and honour that I accepted the kind invitation to present this year’s Sophie Prize. This is the third time the Sophie Prize is awarded. But you Ms. Liao – as the founder and representative of Global Village of Beijing – is the first woman to receive this prize. I myself find this uplifting and this is in a tradition starting with Rachel Carson. This is also in line with your work to encourage and to motivate women to environmental work and awareness raising. Your first significant programme was the Daughters of Earth.

Typically you are not visiting Norway just to be celebrated as this year’s award winner, but you are taking this opportunity to make TV programmes. I have already had the pleasure to be interviewed by you on the very same day you arrived Oslo and so have many others.

Your work is very important. Through Chinese Television you have managed to mobilise millions of Chinese and inspired them to take care for their environment. As we all realise the environmental development in China will be fundamental for the global environment. Causes of environmental degradation find their roots in the way we live and the way we run our industries and our communities. Therefore environmental issues have to be handled in a joint effort by government and concerned citizens at appropriate level. A review of your programmes shows that you have greatly contributed to awareness raising among the general public and demonstrated how the individual can behave in daily life to contribute to a more sustainable use of resources.

Civil society groups and organisations have contributed significantly to the global environmental agenda and the development of global environment conventions. Their wide range of interest in economic and social issues has been an important contribution to relevant intergovernmental fora, and have provided important momentum to practical approaches to sustainable development. In this capacity Global Village of Beijing, represented by you, was invited to the international workshop Consumption in a Sustainable World held in Kabelvåg in 1998. I have also noticed that Global Village of Beijing is the Chinese NGO focal point for GEF.

I would also like to extend my gratitude to Jostein Gaarder and Siri Dannevig who have taken the initiative in creating this important prize and who have contributed so generously. International co-operation combined with actions on the local level give us all hope for a world that will be sustainable for future generations. Today’s prizewinner has showed the importance and the possibilities of initiatives from people like you, Ms. Liao.
There should be many more like you!

Finally, I extend my heartiest congratulations to the prizewinner, and I invite Ms. Sheri Liao to step forward to receive this year’s Sophie Prize.

I wish you all the best in your future endeavours for the environment.