Press release

2007 Alcan Prize for Sustainability awarded to Utthan Centre for Sustainable Development and Poverty Alleviation

January 15, 2008

IISD President and CEO David Runnalls served as Chair of the jury

Rio Tinto Alcan and the International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF) are pleased to announce the 2007 recipient of the US$1 million Alcan Prize for Sustainability is the Utthan Centre for Sustainable Development and Poverty Alleviation, based in India (Utthan).

"We congratulate Dr. Dina Nath Tewari, his staff, and their networks on receiving the 2007 Prize," said Rio Tinto Alcan's Corey Copeland, Senior Vice President, Communications and External Relations. The Alcan Prize for Sustainability was introduced to recognize and reward significant contributions to the goal of economic, environmental, and social sustainability by NGOs, not-for-profit, and civil society organizations around the world. "Utthan has made remarkable strides on behalf of disadvantaged communities in India, and we're delighted to think that the Alcan Prize might further advance the fine work this organization does."

Founded in 1996, the Utthan Centre for Sustainable Development and Poverty Alleviation operates in surface soil-mined areas around cities, degraded forest lands, dry lands, and wastelands. Its projects cover distressed migration areas; backward and inaccessible areas with disadvantaged communities and poor communication; and areas with deficits in food, nutrition, and health support. These include 10 districts in Uttar Pradesh, two districts in Chhattisgarh, and four districts in Madhya Pradesh States.

Utthan's mission is to create opportunities for sustainable economic, social, and ecological development in south Asia by adopting and promoting programs that are pro-disadvantaged community and pro-environment.

Adrian Hodges, Managing Director of the IBLF, said, "The Alcan Prize for Sustainability has been in place for four years and has importantly raised the profile of pioneering NGOs like Utthan. People working in organizations like Utthan deserve to be recognised for their efforts in helping make the world a better place. The Alcan Prize is a tangible reward for Utthan's past achievement and an award to support their future good work."

"This funding and recognition is very significant for us," added Dr. Tewari, President of the Utthan Centre for Sustainable Development and Poverty Alleviation. "The money associated with the Alcan Prize will allow us to do so much more for disadvantaged communities. But, perhaps even more importantly, the recognition of our efforts on the international stage will lead to learning and partnerships that we might not have been able to access on our own."

The Alcan Prize annually recognizes NGOs, not-for-profit, and civil society organizations working to build sustainable societies around the world. Rio Tinto Alcan committed to nine years of funding in the first Prize cycle, which is now in its fourth year. The Prize is managed independently by the IBLF, and Rio Tinto Alcan does not have a voice on the international panel of distinguished sustainability thinkers that annually reviews entries and selects the winner.

The recipient of the 2007 Alcan Prize will be celebrated in June 2008 in Montreal during the International Economic Forum of the Americas (Conférence of Montreal).

In addition to the US$1 million Prize, Rio Tinto Alcan awarded US$15,000 Training Grants to all nine remaining shortlisted organizations for the first time this year. The Grants are awarded with the specific intention of investing in certifiable training and capacity building for the organization.

Previous winners of the Alcan Prize include the Forest Stewardship Council (2004), the Aga Khan Planning and Building Services Pakistan (2005) and The Barefoot College (2006).

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The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is an award-winning independent think tank working to accelerate solutions for a stable climate, sustainable resource management, and fair economies. Our work inspires better decisions and sparks meaningful action to help people and the planet thrive. We shine a light on what can be achieved when governments, businesses, non-profits, and communities come together. IISD’s staff of more than 250 experts come from across the globe and from many disciplines. With offices in Winnipeg, Geneva, Ottawa, and Toronto, our work affects lives in nearly 100 countries.