Ambassador Dr. Mateo J. Magarinos De Mello
Ambassador Magarinos de Mello is a pioneer in the field of environmental law. He is the first jurist to write about the theory, and introduced this new legal system in the Faculty of Law and Social Science of Uruguay. He has been a great influence on Uruguay's environmental policy, and was in part responsible for the Montevideo meeting of government experts on environmental law and actively participated in the elaboration of the Montevideo programme.
He is the recipient of the Elisabeth Haub Award from the Free University of Brussels and the International Council of Environmental Law of Bonn. Ambassador Magarinos is a veteran of the Stockholm Conference which gave birth to UNEP and was President of UNEP's Governing Council in 1981.
He helped establish the National Institute for the Preservation of the Environment, and created the Department of Environment in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He was the founder and President of the Uruguayan Association of Environmental Law and of the Inter-American Committee of Environmental Law and Administration.
José Pedro Castro
Mr. José Pedro Castro's contributions to the conservation of the Pampas deer (Ozotoceros bezoarticus) is well documented. The deer was once one of the most abundant mammals in Uruguay. As a result of commercial hunting and disease transmitted by livestock, the Pampas deer suffered a dramatic reduction and today is one of the most threatened species in Uruguay. The actual population is approximately 600 to 800, concentrated in two small areas of the country.
In 1985, this species was declared a "National Monument" of Uruguay by the Government. The survival of this species is owed, in great part, to the protection given by Mr. Castro. On his farmland survive the majority of the deers - more than 500. He set aside more than 1,200 hectares of his land to assure the survival of this deer without any financial benefit.
Miguel A. Reynal
Miguel Reynal became actively involved in nature conservation following a personal tragedy. In 1978, he founded the Fundacion Vida Silvestre Argentina (FVSA) which today is the leading environmental non-governmental organization in Argentina and through-out the region. FVSA has an annual budget of more than US$1.5 million and a membership of 4,000 with chapters in major parts of the country. During his 12 years as Executive President, he has: saved the pampas deer, historically the most abundant mammal in the region, from extinction; discovered a rare bird, the spotted grebe, and saved it from extinction; established a network of private reserves including an 84,000-hectare private and state biological reserve and bird sanctuary in Buenos Aires; created a breeding station for the endangered pudu-pudu deer; developed courses on environmental education for primary school teachers (1,500 trained to date); undertaken continuous lobbying and advocacy on behalf of the environment; and organized ongoing nature safaris. In 1987, Mr. Reynal started Save the Forest, an international initiative designed for media advocacy and debt for nature swaps. He purchased three full-page ads in the New York Times indicating individuals most responsible for destructive environmental practices. In 1993, he founded, funded and became Executive Director (ad honorem) of Fundacion Ecos which organizes short courses, seminars and workshops for community leaders and decision makers in South America.