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Promoting Environmental Protection from Holistic and Global Perspectives--International Cosmos Prize
Osaka Kaleidoscope
#1 Promoting Environmental Protection from Holistic and Global Perspectives--International Cosmos Prize

The 2007 prizewinner: Dr. Georgina M. Mace
(Imperial College, London, U.K.)

Many of us still remember the International Garden and Greenery Exposition (Expo '90), which was held in 1990 in Osaka and successfully attracted visitors well over the initial anticipated number. While the site of Expo ’90 has been transformed and is currently used as a memorial park, there is a project that also inherits the principles of the expo and has been continued to this day: The International Cosmos Prize is an international award and was founded in 1993 based on the surplus from the expo to honor research activities and achievements that contribute to the expo’s basic principles: "The Harmonious Coexistence of Nature and Mankind." Since it was first awarded to Sir Ghillean Prance (former Director, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, U.K.) in its inaugural year, researchers and research institutes from various countries around the world, including France, the United States, China, Japan, Canada, Ecuador, Mexico, and India, have been named and awarded the prize.
In 2007, Dr. Georgina M. Mace of Imperial College, London, U.K., was selected as the prize’s 15th recipient. Specialized in the conservation of global biodiversity, Dr. Mace has contributed on a global scale to the protection of the environment by formulating the scientific criteria for listing threatened species and playing a leading role in the development of the Red List of endangered species. Dr. Mace has been recognized for her comprehensive approach which considers various fields of study, from biology and genetics to policymaking.

The goal of the prize: To achieve "Harmonious Coexistence of Nature and Mankind"

As reflected in its theme, "The Harmonious Coexistence of Nature and Mankind," Expo '90 suggested to the world that we human beings should respect and live in harmony with nature. The event aimed to encourage people to view Earth as a single interdependent entity, or ‘Spaceship Earth’, on which all of our lives and global environment exist with the support of each other. The International Cosmos Prize was established to encourage an integrated and comprehensive approach to achieve this goal. By recognizing and awarding distinguished research projects in the concerned field, the prize promotes new values and turns research achievements into the property of the entire human race. According to its official website, research work to be considered for the prize includes what has "…achieved excellence and is recognized as contributing to a significant understanding of the relationships among living organisms, the interdependence of life and the global environment, and the common nature integrating these inter-relationships. It should be characterized by a global perspective which tries to illuminate the relationships between diverse phenomena, in keeping with the concepts and principle of 'The Harmonious Coexistence of Nature and Mankind' ("
While many science awards and prizes, including the Nobel Prize, focus on analytic and reductive methodologies of research work, the International Cosmos Prize aims to recognize inclusive and integrated methodologies that are based on a global perspective and have a long-term vision. In contrast to science in the 20th century which was mostly dealt with from a micro perspective, the prize attempts to discuss science from a macro perspective by including related fields and to create a new trend of scientific study in the 21st century.

Contributed to the development of the Red List--Dr. Georgina M. Mace
Dr. Georgina M. Mace, the recipient of the 2007 International Cosmos Prize, was recognized for her research achievements using a continuous and broad approach in the field of the conservation of global biodiversity, including her roles in formulating the scientific criteria for listing threatened species and also in the development of the Red List of endangered species. Today, it is widely known that a number of species are in danger of extinction. While an original model of the Red List was first created in the 1960s, no criteria to assess and specify endangered species for the listing had been established until Dr. Mace introduced her scientific approach based on various fields of study, including biology, genetics, and math, and established the Criteria for Listing Threatened Species through her work at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). Under her lead, the IUCN's Red List was later developed based on the said Criteria. The list is considered a leading, pioneering contribution to the field, is the most comprehensive description of the conditions that some species are facing, and serves as a single system that can be universally adopted. Dr. Mace also contributed to the implementation of the Washington Convention by creating a major part of the guidelines for customs inspections, which was part of her activities that had expanded to various areas including policymaking. The prize was given in recognition of her broad-ranging activities that have inspired a global interest in biodiversity and have brought the world's attention to the conservation of the global environment.
Protecting the global environment in Osaka

Not many people anticipated that Expo '90, whose theme was the promotion of flowers and greenery, would be so successful in Osaka where practical benefits are more appreciated than anything else. As it turned out, the exposition attracted over 23 million people, yielding a surplus of 6.9 billion yen to which Osaka Prefecture and Osaka City donated 1.6 billion yen each to establish the Expo '90 Foundation. The International Cosmos Prize operates based on the profits of the foundation and awards 40 million yen to the selected winner (an individual or a team). In contrast to other international scientific awards operated by Japan-based foundations, such as the Japan Prize (the Science and Technology Foundation of Japan), the Kyoto Prize (the Inamori Foundation), and the Blue Planet Prize (the Asahi Glass Foundation), the International Cosmos Prize especially targets research work that is directed at establishing comprehensive methodologies to approach today’s issues and to promote new ways regarding science. By inheriting the ideals of the successful expo, the prize continues to demonstrate to the world another aspect of Osaka, which tends to be considered reluctant to invest in something that is not directly connected to profitability.
The award ceremony for Dr. Mace will be held on October 4, 2007 at Izumi Hall (Shiromi, Chuo-ku, Osaka: Special lectures and symposiums in Kyoto, Nara, and Tokyo by the past prizewinners are also scheduled to commemorate the 15th year of the prize.

July 26, 2007
Text by Michi Komura, Osaka Brand Center

■ Related links
Expo '90 Foundation
International Cosmos Prize
(The Prizewinner 2007