Vienna, 8 October 2004 - Foreign Minister Benita Ferrero-Waldner expressed her pleasure with today's decision by the Norwegian Nobel Committee to award this year's Nobel Peace Prize to the Kenyan environmental activist Wangari Maathai.
"In the framework of the Austrian Foreign Ministry's Development Cooperation, environmental protection and the preservation of biodiversity have always played a special role. The Foreign Ministry therefore also supported the Green Belt Movement of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai in Kenya, carrying out projects in cooperation with CARE Austria between 1993 and 2000. In total, we provided assistance amounting to more than Euro 750,000. A training centre was established in Nairobi in order to strengthen the organisation and train staff, especially women. Tree nurseries were set up and seedlings planted throughout the whole country. These measures have made an effective contribution towards containing deforestation in Kenya and creating awareness about sustainable and fair development."
"The decision to award this prize to an African woman for the first time is an important international tribute to the efforts of this impressive woman. Far too often, developments in Africa -with all their related problems and opportunities - are excluded from our perception. I therefore view the Nobel Peace Prize awarded today as a chance to broaden our horizon, particularly with regard to Africa", said Ferrero-Waldner.