x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

1997: Sheikh Zayed wins Gold Panda award

40 years of the UAE: Sheikh Zayed, the UAE's founding President, received numerous awards for his environmental sustainability efforts.

Known as the father of the environmental movement in the UAE, Sheikh Zayed, the country's founding President, also received a number of prestigious international awards for his green efforts.

In 1997, he was given the Gold Panda, a conservation award by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the leading global environmental organisation.

The award commemorates donors who have helped the group.

Sheikh Zayed, the first head of state to receive the accolade, received the award from Britain's Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, who is also the president emeritus of WWF.

The prestigious accolade was one of many bestowed upon the late UAE leader, including the Champion of the Earth Award in 2005 by the United Nations Environment Programme.

"For five decades, Sheikh Zayed advocated and adopted the concept of what is known today as sustainable development," said Majid Al Mansouri, a member of the executive committee of the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi.

"Various developments across the UAE have shown that while there was a great interest in improving the social and economic conditions of the people, great care and importance was given to protect the environment," Mr Al Mansouri said.

* Vesela Todorova