December 12, 2005

Alcan Prize for Sustainability winner named

MONTREAL, QUE-The 2005 Alcan Prize for Sustainability has been awarded to the Aga Khan Planning and Building Services Pakistan (AKPBSP) for its efforts to improve Pakistan's urban infrastructure, including water and sanitation facilities. Founded in 1980, AKPBS works to alleviate poverty in a sustainable manner, by enhancing the existing urban infrastructure of some of Pakistan's most disadvantaged communities. Its efforts include village planning, natural hazard mitigation, and other quality-of-life issues, such as sanitation and potable water. A strong area of focus for the organization is the development of technologies related to earthquake resistant buildings and green energy sources in village planning and design. The Alcan Prize is managed by a third party, the Prince of Wales International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF), to ensure credibility and objectivity. The adjudication panel received the AKPBS entry in March and over the course of its assessment was impressed by the organization's grassroots approach, its focus on sustainability relating to environmental, economic, social and cultural issues, and the global relevance of its work. Asif Merchant, CEO of AKPBS, said, "The Alcan Prize will help us refocus international attention on the urgent need to rebuild communities devastated by the October 8, 2005 earthquake that struck northern Pakistan, and develop more sustainable villages for the future. Not only is the Alcan Prize a very welcome source of new funds at a critical time, it is also a vote of confidence from some of the world's leaders in sustainability."

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