Summary of Nick's Biography
Awards (Top three awards, among other awards)
The United Nations Global 500 Award
The UN’s highest award for the Environment. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) established the Global 500 Roll of Honour in 1987 to recognize the environmental achievements of individuals and organizations around the world. Other prominent awardees are Nobel Prize winners Wangari Maathai and former U.S President Jimmy Carter, French explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau, former Prime Minister of Norway Gro Harlem Brundtland, and former Prime Minister of Britain Margaret Thatcher.
The Ramon Magsaysay Award for Exemplary Governance. "The Ramon Magsaysay Award is given to persons who address issues of human development in Asia with courage and creativity, and in doing so have made contributions which have transformed their societies for the better.” Other recipients are Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno and business tycoon John Gokongwei.
Unrivaled Track Record
1. Expert and vital consultant to influential institutions of government, international bodies, global agencies and civil society organizations, among others, the:
- Aquino Government as Technical Advisor to the Presidential Commission on the Bataan Nuclear Plant. Mr. Perlas played a pivotal role to the government’s decision to mothball the troubled Plant, despite it being very near completion, and having cost $2.1 billion;
- Ramos Government through his critical leadership in the Pesticides Technical Advisory Committee, which role was decisive in the consequent banning of 32 of the most damaging pesticides and government’s investment of P760 million in integrated pest management, an achievement that has far-reaching effects to Philippine agriculture and the ecology;
- Ramos Government, as principal technical writer and key formulator of Philippine Agenda 21 (“PA21”), a pioneering framework on development and a counter-weight on trade liberalization. The PA21 has been characterized by former President Ramos as the most consultative policy document in post-martial law and is still the recognized blueprint for sustainable development in the country;
- Philippine Council for Sustainable Development as Civil Society Co-Chairman, and through his expertise, formulated and implemented Philippine Agenda 21;
- United Nation bodies such as the UNDP, FAO, UNCSD and UNICEF, where he was the authoritative representative for the Philippines and civil society;
- Critical government agencies throughout several presidencies, as expert consultant to the Senate, House of Representatives, NEDA, DSWD, DA, DENR and as the official Philippine delegate to the United Nations and APEC; and
- Principal negotiator during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (“APEC”) and pivotal to preventing radical and one-sided trade liberalization. Mr. Perlas successfully introduced strong sustainable development language in the Leaders and Ministerial Declarations of APEC, and constrained the Individual Action Plan of the Philippines to abide by sustainable development principles.
2. Visionary leader who created, developed and broke new ground with several pioneering and momentous initiatives and organizations, including the:
- Centre for Alternative Development Initiatives (CADI), a trailblazer in the agricultural field, which set in motion, organic farming in an otherwise chemical-intensive agricultural system;
- Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, which effectively commenced and culminated a campaign against pesticide abuse, and providing expert training and technical assistance to 23 provinces in the Philippines;
- Large-scale commercial organic and biodynamic agriculture, the first of its kind in the country. In fact, Mr. Perlas is recognized as a most prominent force on ecological agriculture in Asia, notable for coining the term: “sustainable agriculture” in 1983;
- Creator of the 'tri-sector' approach to policy-making or “societal threefolding.” His innovative work launched the Global Network for Social Three-Folding or Globenet3, with more than 17 geographic and functional nodes in over 12 countries in Asia, Europe, Africa, and the United States of America; and
- Author of SIAD: Framework for the Localization of Philippine Agenda 21, a crucial blueprint, which is now being utilized by several local governments and civil society organizations to advance sustainable integrated area development.
Nick Perlas, with his unparalleled expertise and stellar work, is renowned in the field. He has:
a. Been consistently invited to lecture and impart his visionary and pioneering work before civil society organizations and movements as plenary speaker or resource person. He has lectured in over 100 global conferences and over 150 national conferences;
b. Written an international bestseller: “Shaping Globalization: Civil Society, Cultural Power and Threefolding”, which has been translated in nine (9) languages. His book is being continuously utilized by governments, business and civil society for policy-making throughout the world; and
c. Authored over 500 articles and among others, is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of TruthForce, and Ikabuhi Newspaper for Micro-Entrepreneurs.
The Right Livelihood Award was established in 1980 to honour and support those "offering practical and exemplary answers to the most urgent challenges facing us today".It has become widely known as the 'Alternative Nobel Prize' and there are now 137 Laureates from 58 countries.
Other awards of Nicanor Perlas:
Global 500 Award
Nicanor Perlas (Philippines) (2003)
“…for his outstanding efforts in educating civil society about the effects of corporate globalisation, and how alternatives to it can be implemented.”
Nicanor Perlas was born in 1950, and graduated with highest honours in agriculture from Xavier University. He gave up his master’s degree after being drawn into the struggle against the Marcos-promoted Baataan nuclear plant in 1978 and had to leave the Philippines after organising a conference to expose its dangers.
After the fall of Marcos Perlas was able to return to the Philippines, founding the Centre for Alternative Development Initiatives (CADI). He became a consultant to the Aquino Government on the troubled nuclear power plant, and contributed to the decision to mothball it, despite it being very near completion, and having cost $2.1 billion.
At the same time he engaged in a campaign against the abuse of pesticides, founding the Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. This (and very often Perlas personally) gave training and technical assistance in 23 provinces in the Philippines. Perlas also became a member of the government’s Pesticides Technical Advisory Committee, which eventually banned 32 of the most damaging pesticides and caused the government to invest P760 million in integrated pest management, which trained more than 100,000 farmers. For this work Perlas won the Global 500 Award from UNEP, and one of the TOFIL Awards to outstanding Filipinos, both in 1994. In the substantial press coverage that accompanied these awards, Perlas was often referred to as ‘a farmer’ and his work with CADI still helps farmers to shift away from chemical-intensive agriculture.
By this time Perlas was already one of the Philippines’ environmental leaders. He had set up student environmental groups and his work on nuclear power and sustainable agriculture had given him a national profile. He was one of the Philippines’ NGO delegation to the 1992 Earth Summit. He later became heavily involved in the post-Rio process in the Philippines, not least through the Philippine Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD), of which he has been Civil Society Co- Chair, and helped to formulate and implement at the local level Philippine Agenda 21 (PA21).
Later in the 1990s he became Co-Chair of the Green Forum of environmental groups, and he has been a member of Mikael Gorbachov’s Commission on Globalisation. Perlas explicitly sought to use PA21 as a counter-weight to the trade liberalisation that was being pushed through the Uruguay Road of the GATT, in what he described as a “creative response to the challenge of élite globalisation.”
A major practical expression of the PA21 approach is the micro-credit initiative Lifebank, of which Perlas is a Board member. Lifebank has so far reached 15,000 families.
Perlas has evolved a ‘tri-sector’ approach to policy-making, which he calls ‘threefolding’: “In social threefolding the three global powers - government, representing political concerns, business, representing economic concerns, and civil society, representing cultural concerns, can come together, where appropriate and feasible, to join efforts in solving major world problems.” This is the subject of Perlas’ most recent book, Shaping Globalisation: Cultural Power and Threefolding, (2000).
These ideas are said to have been important in the process that led to the toppling of President Estrada in 2000. Perlas took the book to the State of the World Forum 2000, and has co-founded two networks to take the ideas forward globally: GlobeNet 3 and the Global Institute for Responsible Leadership, which seeks to promote innovative thinking and collaboration across traditional boundaries - departments, organizations, sectors, and cultures.
For the past five years Perlas’s focus has almost exclusively been on social movements and their power to change the world. He counts as one of his major achievements that, with Walden Bello, he convinced the Philippine NGO scene in 1996, through major talks, the formation of networks and a big civil society conference that the issue for the future of the Philippines, is the value system underpinning globalisation. Perlas warns that the developments we are facing demand a deeper, ethical and spiritual response: we face a system not just a management crisis. Thus he asks how our sense of identity and humanity will be affected by current technological advances (in genetic engineering, nanotechnology and artificial intelligence) which could lead to the proliferation of half-human half- machine “silicone beings” in the near future.
“We are in fact faced with very deep spiritual social problems, which require spiritual responses from us. Ordinary, secular, materialistic answers will not do. For behind every act of social resistance and creativity is a spiritual act. Spiritual revolution must have happened first within us before we can create the new world we all long for.”
Complete Biography (of Nicanor Perlas). 10 April 2010. Official website of Nicanor Perlas. http://www.nicanor-perlas.com/About-Nicanor-Perlas/complete-biography.html