Alcan Sustainability Prize Awarded to Pakistani Urban Planning Organization

Alcan Sustainability Prize Awarded to Pakistani Urban Planning Organization

Alcan Inc. and the Prince of Wales International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF) have awarded the $1 million 2005 Alcan Prize for Sustainability to the Aga Khan Planning and Building Services Pakistan (AKPBSP) for its efforts to improve Pakistan's urban infrastructure, including water and sanitation facilities.

"The AKPBSP embodies a tangible commitment to sustainability and is a more than a worthy recipient of the Alcan Prize, designed to recognize the shared interest both business and NGO’s have in working together to make for a better, more sustainable world," said Travis Engen, president and CEO of Alcan Inc. “At Alcan, this translates into addressing the social, economic, and environmental interests of all of the communities in which we operate.”

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 IBLF, to ensure credibility and objectivity. “AKPBS has demonstrated a significant track record in Pakistan through its innovative work in improving living conditions and the environment for the most disadvantaged people in both urban and rural communities,” said Robert Davies, IBLF Chief Executive Officer.

The Alcan Prize Adjudication Panel received the AKPBS’ entry in March and over the course of its assessment was impressed by the organization’s grassroots approach and sustainable impact on environmental, economic, social and cultural issues and the global relevance of its work.

Asif Merchant, CEO of Aga Khan Planning and Building Services, 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.”

The Adjudication Panel also awarded Alcan Grants to five of the ten finalists:
  • Bioplaneta, Mexico City, Mexico
  • Magic Bus, Mumbai, India
  • Oasis Association, Claremont, S.A.
  • Rainforest Alliance, New York, U.S.
  • Roundabout Outdoor, Johannesburg, S.A.
Worth $15,000 each, these grants enable a senior staff member from each of the recipient organizations to participate in a one-year, part-time Postgraduate Certificate in Cross Sector Partnership accredited by the University of Cambridge.