China’s visionary ecologist Chen Yiyu gets WWF top prize
His marine life expertise and life-long devotion to conserving China’s freshwater resources won Mr. Chen international recognition.
“The Duke of Edinburgh Award is a great honour for me. But this is also an honour for nature conservation in China, and for the many people who have made contributions,” Mr. Chen said at the award ceremony.
“I will continue to work for the preservation of China’s environment, and contribute everything I have to ensuring we leave future generations a healthy, living planet."
Chen Yiyu has been described as a visionary advocate of environmental policy in China, and is considered one of the country’s most important figures in the field of sustainable development and on-the-ground conservation.
Early in his career he led groundbreaking studies on the endangered Baiji dolphin, a freshwater species only found in the Yangtze River. He has also championed research on Lake Hong’s ecosystems, which have led to considerable improvements in its water quality and helped balance the way its resources are distributed.
“Thanks to Mr. Chen’s leadership, China’s freshwater protection policies have improved dramatically, particularly in the areas of integrated watershed management and ecosystem management," said James Leape, Director General of WWF-International.
“The contributions Chen Yiyu continues to make to freshwater conservation in China are outstanding, and deserve to be celebrated.”
The Duke of Edinburgh Conservation Medal is awarded annually by WWF for outstanding service to the environment.
Recipients of the award receive a gold medal in a sustainably-sourced rosewood box donated by the Chamber of Mines of South Africa, a Rolex watch, and a certificate signed by the Duke of Edinburgh and the Director General of WWF International.
"For decades, WWF has worked to protect China’s natural resources – the Chinese people are grateful for this," Mr Chen said.
Mr. Chen has published over 90 scientific papers and 10 books, and is the current President of the Chinese National Natural Science Foundation. He is a former Vice President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, an important national scientific institution.