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Nobel Peace Prize To Kenyan Applauded

UN Applauds Awarding Of Nobel Peace Prize To Kenyan Environmental Activist

Describing her as “Africa’s staunchest defender of the environment,” the United Nations green agency today hailed the awarding of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize to Prof. Wangari Maathai of Kenya.

The first African woman to receive the prize, Professor Maathai has spent decades as “a fearless opponent of the grabbing of public land and the destruction of forests, and a vigorous advocate for democracy and environmental protection,” Klaus Toepfer, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), said in a statement.

Professor Maathai is Deputy Environment and Natural Resources Minister in her country’s Government and has been a lawmaker since December 2002. She also founded the Green Belt Movement, which has planted more than 20 million trees across Africa.

“Understanding is growing throughout the world of the close links between environmental protection and global security,” Mr. Toepfer said, adding that Professor Maathai’s “lifelong and passionate fight for the environment” has contributed to sustainable development, democracy and peace.

Mr. Toepfer also said Professor Maathai is a role model for “us all, especially the women and children of Africa, who shoulder so much of Africa’s burden of poverty, conflict and environmental degradation, and who so much deserve role models to show them the way to a better future.”

When interviewed for a documentary by UNEP, Professor Maathai said: “I love the trees; I love the colour. To me they represent life and they represent hope. I think it is the green colour. I tell people I think heaven is green.”

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