UK based NGO Global Witness wins prestigious US award
Global Witness has been selected as the recipient of the 2007 Commitment to Development Ideas in Action Award, sponsored jointly by Washington, DC based Center for Global Development and Foreign Policy magazine.
The award, announced today, honours individuals or organisations for ‘raising public awareness and changing the attitudes and policies of the rich world toward developing countries’. A distinguished international panel chose Global Witness for the honour, bestowed annually since 2003. In making the award, the Commitment to Development Ideas in Action Award Committee recognised Global Witness for catalysing change through campaigns to end impunity, resource-linked conflict, human rights and environmental abuses. Global Witness’ key role in the creation of the Kimberley Process and leadership of the Publish What You Pay campaign were noted as prime examples of translating groundbreaking ideas into action to positively address issues of global poverty and development.
Previous winners include Gordon Brown, then-Chancellor of the Exchequer and now Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, for his efforts to create an advance market commitment for vaccines to fight killer diseases in developing countries; European ministers of international development, who constitute the Utstein Group, for challenging the norms of the development establishment and highlighting the importance of policy coherence; Oxfam's Make Trade Fair campaign; and then-U.S. Congressman Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) for promoting innovation within the U.S. foreign aid program.
Nancy Birdsall, President of the Center for Global Development, said of the award: “One purpose of the Commitment to Development Ideas in Action Award is to remind people in the rich world that their actions can have a major impact on the lives of poor people in developing countries. Global Witness exemplifies the concept of ideas in action. By shining light on human rights abuses and the corrupt exploitation of natural resources and the international trade system, Global Witness has helped to change the attitudes and policies of the rich world towards developing countries.”
Moisés Naím, Foreign Policy magazine Editor-in-Chief, added: “Global Witness is a shining example of how indispensable NGOs can be when governments cannot or will not do the urgent work that is needed. In an era where the forces of globalization often empower the most ruthless and aggressive illicit networks, it should give us all hope that there are savvy and dedicated organisations like Global Witness working to ensure that decency and honesty are not trumped by greed.”
In accepting the award, Charmian Gooch, one of Global Witness’ founding directors said: “Global Witness is greatly honoured to receive this award, which recognises that small organisations do create real change. It is also a reflection of the dedication, integrity and hard work, often at huge personal risk, of our staff and the numerous individuals and organisations with whom we work; and the support of our funders.”
For more information, please contact Charmian Gooch +44 (0)20 7561 6380 (UK) or Corinna Gilfillan at +1 202 721 5670 (US).
Notes to Editors:
Global Witness exposes the corrupt exploitation of natural resources and international trade systems, to drive campaigns that end impunity, resource-linked conflict, and human rights and environmental abuses. Global Witness was co-nominated for the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize for its leading work on conflict diamonds and awarded the Gleitsman Foundation prize for international activism in 2005. For more information see http://www.globalwitness.org.