Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

1st Session, 39th Parliament,
Volume 143, Issue 5

Tuesday, April 25, 2006
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker

Aga Khan Building and Planning Services, Pakistan

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, it is my pleasure to announce that on March 2, 2006, an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network, the Aga Khan Planning and Building Services, Pakistan, or AKBPS, received the U.S. $1-million Alcan Prize for Sustainability for its efforts to improve housing conditions, as well as water and sanitation facilities in Pakistan. A gala ceremony to honour the recipients was held March 2 in Vancouver.

Established in 1980, the Aga Khan Planning and Building Services, Pakistan, plans and implements infrastructure and technology-related development initiatives to improve the built environment and enhance living conditions for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged populations. The importance of its work was underscored by the devastating earthquake that hit northern Pakistan in October 2005.

Strong Canadian support has been integral to the success of this agency’s work. Since 1995, CIDA and the Aga Khan Foundation Canada have assisted core programs through direct support and capacity-building assistance.

In her acceptance of the Alcan prize on behalf of AKPBS, Pakistan, Princess Zahra Aga Khan, head of the social welfare department at the secretariat of His Highness the Aga Khan, further announced that the Alcan prize will be matched by a U.S. $1-million contribution from the Aga Khan Foundation in recognition of Canada’s long-standing support for the work of AKPBS, Pakistan, and of Alcan’s Canadian roots.

Princess Zahra noted the unique nature of the Alcan prize, saying that:

In contrast to many high profile awards, the Alcan Prize is explicitly not for the “Best Project of the Year” or even for “Lifetime Achievement.” It is about clarity of conception, effectiveness of implementation, and the quality of results in the present, over a period of time, and — with its focus on sustainability — into the future. It is about developing and using world class knowledge and working with local communities to choose and implement what reflects their needs and ability to sustain. The key dimensions are that interventions must be grounded in communities, must integrate social, economic and environmental elements and be undertaken with a long term perspective. All of them are explicitly part of this prize.

In addition, His Highness the Aga Khan will make available a further U.S. $1 million to match additional contributions to the fund.

In closing, I would like to particularly acknowledge Alcan. By establishing a prize of this nature, Alcan demonstrates the integral, innovative contributions that the private sector can make to equitable social and economic development and poverty reduction across the globe.