Europe's top environmental prize awarded to UNEP Director Toepfer and German companies

Germany's Federal President, Johannes Rau, hands over documents - Federal Foundation for the Environment awards prize for tenth time

Magdeburg, Germany (ots/PROTEXT) 28.10.2002 - Europe's most coveted environmental prize worth EUR 500,000 has been awarded for the tenth time. Germany's Head of State, Federal President Johannes Rau, handed over the prize from the German Federal Foundation for the Environment in Osnabrueck to the Director of the United Nations' environment programme and former minister for the environment, Prof. Dr Klaus Toepfer (64, Nairobi), and the founder and managing director of Prophyta GmbH, Dr Peter Lueth (46, Wismar). In this way, Europe's largest environmental foundation has acknowledged the work that Professor Toepfer, the highest-ranking German in international environmental protection at the UN, has performed. Doctor Lueth was awarded his prize for developing and producing biological plant-protection agents.

The foundation underlined that Professor Toepfer had made a significant contribution to the success of the UN Conference 'Environment and Development' held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. As chairman of the UN Commission for Sustained Development, he devoted considerable time to turning the concrete aims outlined in Rio into international agreements. In addition, he tenaciously defended the interests of developing countries that are particularly susceptible to climatic changes, but are only marginally responsible for causing them. At national level, Professor Toepfer has played a decisive role in developing the idea of preventative and production-integrated environmental protection.

At a time of radical change, Doctor Lueth recognized his opportunity with his company Prophyta, which he founded in 1992 in Malchow (Mecklenburg-Vorpommern). In Germany, he developed the first biological agent to combat fungi harmful to plants and built up an efficient company, which now employs 17 staff and has contacts with partners in over 40 countries. His 'pioneering achievement' set a technological standard that gained recognition worldwide and will lead to many further innovative applications in bio-compound development.

You can find a detailed report on the ceremony and photographs for use free of charge (from around 15.00) on the foundation's homepage at www.dbu.de. ots Original Text Service: DBU Internet: http://www.presseportal.de

Contact:

Franz-Georg Elpers, Press Officer (Head) Tel.: 0541/9633-521 E-mail: fg.elpers@dbu.de

Katja Diehl, Editor Tel.: 0541/9633-522 E-mail: k.diehl@dbu.de

An der Bornau 2 49090 Osnabrueck Fax: 0541/9633-198

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