Press release

Leaders in Sustainable Development to be Honoured by New Maurice Strong Sustainability Award

WINNIPEG—February 5, 2016—The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is pleased to announce the creation of an international prize in honour of Maurice Strong that recognizes excellence in the pursuit of sustainable development.

February 4, 2016

WINNIPEG—February 5, 2016—The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is pleased to announce the creation of an international prize in honour of Maurice Strong that recognizes excellence in the pursuit of sustainable development.

The Maurice Strong Sustainability Award, endorsed by IISD’s Board of Directors, will first be awarded in 2017, coinciding with Canada's 150th anniversary of Confederation and the 40th anniversary of the World Commission on Environment and Development (also known as the Brundtland Commission). 

The award will be granted every two years to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to sustainable development. It will be presented in Winnipeg, Manitoba, a short distance from Oak Lake, the Prairie town where Maurice was born and raised.

Maurice is widely recognized as the founder of the global environmental movement. Among his many accomplishments were two seminal United Nation conferences for which he acted as secretary-general (Stockholm in 1972 and Rio in 1992). These conferences brought together heads of state from all corners of the globe and set in motion a series multilateral agreements to address environmental, economic and social concerns.

"One of Maurice's many talents was his ability to connect with people across a full spectrum of cultures, backgrounds and professions," said Scott Vaughan, CEO and President of IISD. "His diplomatic skills with heads of state are legend, but he was equally at home in rural villages, cramped NGO offices and board rooms of global corporations."

"In honour of that inclusivity, over time this prize will seek to recognize the diversity of stellar contributions that individuals are making to our shared goal of developing sustainably."

Maurice's last speech was made to the UN General Assembly in September 2014, where he urged leaders to agree to an ambitious plan of action at the Paris Climate Change Conference.

"You are called upon to rise to your historic responsibility as custodians of the planet in taking the decisions in the next year that will unite rich and poor, north, south, east and west, in a new global partnership to ensure our common future. The time has come for action," said Maurice.

It was a fitting legacy to Maurice's efforts over many decades that the Paris conference resulted in consensus among 196 parties on the need to keep global temperatures below dangerous levels, along with agreed steps for reaching that goal.

Maurice passed away two weeks before the Paris conference.

For more information, please contact Sumeep Bath at or +1 (204) 958-7740 (in Canada) or Damon Vis-Dunbar at or +41 22 917-8848 (in Switzerland).

About IISD

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.