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Prof Bob Watson to receive United Nations award for services to science

Mon, 10 Nov 2014

University of East Anglia scientist Prof Bob Watson has been awarded a top UN Prize for inspirational service to the planet.

The Champions of the Earth Award is the United Nations' highest environmental accolade, awarded to those whose service to the environment is saving lives, improving livelihoods and bettering environmental governance and conservation.

Bob Watson is professor of environmental sciences at UEA and director of strategic development at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.

He was awarded the prize for Science and Innovation, for 'promoting the science behind ozone depletion, global warming and the impacts of biodiversity loss'.

The award is the United Nations' flagship environmental prize, recognizing outstanding visionaries and leaders in the fields of policy, science, entrepreneurship, and civil society action.

Past laureates have included Mikhail Gorbachev, Al Gore, Felipe Calderon, Mohamed Nasheed, Marina Silva, Vinod Khosla, and many other thought leaders on environment and development.

Prof Watson said: "I am delighted and humbled by this honour, which implicitly recognises the value of scientific knowledge in national and international environmental policy formulation."

Prof Watson has received numerous national and international awards and prizes for his contributions to science including the Blue Planet Prize (2010) - Japan's equivalent of the Nobel Prize - for his roles in highlighting the influence of human activities in the depletion of the ozone layer and climate change. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 2011 and received a knighthood in 2012.

Prof Watson held science leadership positions at the US White House, the World Bank, NASA, and UK's Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs. He was chair of several UN ozone assessments, of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and is currently vice-Chair of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity & Ecosystem Services.

UEA Vice-Chancellor Prof David Richardson said: "Bob has made, and continues to make, an enormous contribution to climate science, bringing evidence from research to the heart of policy in the UK and internationally. I would like to offer him my warmest congratulations for this internationally prestigious award."

The winners will be honoured by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at an awards ceremony at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. on November 19.

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