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Lui Che-Woo

Lui Che Woo prize awarded to World Meteorological Organisation for work to reduce effects of natural disasters

Pratham Education Foundation, an NGO focused on underprivileged children in India and Hans-Josef Fell, a German pioneer in renewable energy, were winners in other two categories

PUBLISHED : Friday, 24 August, 2018, 8:24pm
UPDATED : Friday, 24 August, 2018, 11:31pm

A United Nations agency that aims to reduce the effect of natural disasters has been named one of three recipients of the latest Lui Che Woo Prize.

It was announced on Friday that the World Meteorological Organisation would be awarded the Welfare Betterment Prize for its long-term efforts in mitigating disaster losses related to extreme weather and climate events.

The prize was established by Hong Kong property tycoon and casino magnate Lui Che-woo in 2015 for “advancing world civilisation” and “inspiring people to build a more harmonious world”. It was first awarded in 2016.

Pratham Education Foundation, an NGO focused on providing quality education for underprivileged children in India, and Hans-Josef Fell, a German pioneer in renewable energy, were the winners in the other two categories.

Each recipient will receive a cash award of HK$20 million, a certificate and a trophy.

On Friday, Lui, 89, said: “The three recipients have made a remarkable contribution to the promotion of sustainable development, betterment of the welfare of mankind and positive energy.”

This year marked the first time no Chinese people had won the prize.

Tycoon Lui Che-woo launches HK$60 million prize for contributors to ‘world civilisation’ with heavyweight council

“This is a prize for world civilisation and does not limit to a specific country,” Lui said.

Professor Lawrence Lau Juen-yee, chairman of the prize recommendation committee, said the WMO had achieved “outstanding accomplishments in all aspects of disaster relief”. It included its Disaster Risk Reduction programme established in 2003.

Professor Petteri Taalas, secretary general of the WMO, said the agency was honoured to be recognised.

“Our top priority is to support our members in tackling weather, climate and water-related challenges. With the prize, we will no doubt be even better positioned to lend our leading expertise and crucial support,” said Taalas.

Dr Rukmini Banerji, CEO of Pratham Education Foundation, which won the Positive Energy Prize, said her group was “surprised and delighted” to have won.

“This generous honour … will greatly support [our work providing] quality education to children who are most in need,” Banerji said.

Fell, who is internationally recognised as a founding figure of the global renewable energy movement, will receive the Sustainability Prize. The laureate said it would strengthen his future activities to “energise people for a sustainable and peaceful world”.

An official prize presentation ceremony will be held in October in Hong Kong.