Kofi Annan, Honorary President of the Prix Pictet, has awarded this years Prix Pictet to British based photographer Nadav Kander, and the Earth Commission to American photographer Ed Kashi at the Passage de Retz, Paris.
Making the formal presentation at an awards dinner at the Passage de Retz in Paris, Kofi Annan said that the photographs were a compelling call for action to tackle climate change, the most serious humanitarian and environmental challenge facing the world today:“Only weeks separate us from the decisive negotiations on climate change in Copenhagen. We are confronted with the vital need to prepare the political momentum necessary for a fair and effective post-Kyoto agreement. The images in front of us remind us of the fragility of our planet and the damage we have already done. When we see these photographs we cannot close our eyes and remain indifferent. Through our actions and voices, we must keep building the pressure to secure urgent action at Copenhagen and beyond.”
Ivan Pictet, Senior Managing Partner of Pictet & Cie said: “In only its second year, the Prix Pictet has established itself as one of the most important prizes in its field. In naming Nadav Kander the judges have chosen a very worthy winner, such was the quality of the field that any one of the twelve photographers on the shortlist could have made it.”
He added, “On behalf of the Partners of Pictet, I am delighted to announce that we have selected Ed Kashi as the photographer to fulfil Pictet’s annual commission related to our charitable activities, this year in Madagascar, a country with a remarkable ecological heritage under threat and one of the poorest countries on earth.”
Each year Pictet & Cie supports the work of a charity whose work mirrors the theme of the prize. For 2009, Pictet & Cie will support Azafady – a UK-based charity and Malagasy-registered NGO. Specifically, Pictet & Cie will support Azafady’s Voly Hazo project, that aims to preserve the earth from degradation and the eventual desertification that is seen so widely in Madagascar with a programme of tree planting and preservation of the natural forest.
Ed Kashi has been commissioned to visit Madagascar with the Azafady team in order to produce a series of photographs that will highlight many of the issues that Azafady are focusing on in this unique and endangered environment. An exhibition of the work made for the commission will launch the 2010 prize in the Spring of 2010.
Mark Jacobs, Director of Azafady UK said “Madagascar’s extraordinary biodiversity stems from the island’s long isolation from other landmasses. With over 80 per cent of its plant and animal wildlife found only on this island it is as important as protected areas like the Galapagos Islands. But this unique ecosystem is under threat and poverty is playing a large part in the destruction of the country’s natural environment. While international attention often focuses on the needs of mainland Africa, the island of Madagascar is rarely thought of. We are therefore delighted that Pictet & Cie have decided to support the work of Azafady.”
Francis Hodgson, chairman of the judges said, “The quality of the entry this year has been exceptional. It has been an honour and a pleasure to try to find a winner from among so many outstanding candidates. The shortlisted photographers set the jury an immense problem and I am grateful to my fellow judges for their insight, expertise and good humour. The photographers’ determination to be heard is the foundation of everything that the Prix Pictet can achieve. As a result of their great skill the Prix Pictet goes from strength to strength. Although only in its second year, it has clearly now found its niche as the worlds premier prize in its sector. The environmental issues that it seeks to address are vital to all of us. That of course only adds to the fascination of being involved.”