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UNEP Calls for Nominations for Champions of the Earth Award 2024

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) seeks nominations for the Champions of the Earth award 2024, honoring leaders in environmental conservation, with a focus on land restoration, drought resilience, and desertification combat.

Saurabh Shukla
UNEP Calls for Nominations for Champions of the Earth Award 2024 (Photo Source: Pexels)
UNEP Calls for Nominations for Champions of the Earth Award 2024 (Photo Source: Pexels)

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has issued a call for nominations for the prestigious Champions of the Earth award, recognizing exceptional leaders in the fields of government, civil society, and the private sector for their significant contributions to environmental conservation. This esteemed award, the highest environmental honor conferred by the UN, aims to celebrate individuals and organizations driving transformative change in the sphere of sustainability.

To highlight individuals driving sustainable projects, UNEP is especially encouraging nominations of innovators working on policies and solutions that support land restoration, drought resilience building, and the fight against desertification. Since its inception in 2005, the Champions of the Earth award has honored 116 laureates, comprising 27 world leaders, 70 individuals, and 19 organizations. The UNEP received an astounding 2,500 nominations for the prize last year, demonstrating how important it is to promote environmental Protection around the world.

As we reach the midpoint of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, the call for action to safeguard and restore ecosystems has never been more urgent. Ecosystem restoration not only enhances livelihoods and reduces poverty but also fortifies resilience against extreme weather events and mitigates the impacts of the climate crisis. To boost these efforts, concerted action is required from governments, civil society, and the private sector, encompassing increased financial support, capacity building, and behavioral shifts.

World Environment Day on June 5, 2024, will spotlight the themes of land restoration, desertification, and drought resilience, aligning with the thirtieth anniversary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification. Furthermore, the sixteenth Conference of the Parties (COP) to the convention, scheduled for December, will provide a platform for stakeholders to converge and strategize on combatting desertification.

Nominations for the Champions of the Earth award is open from April 15 to May 5, 2024, across four categories: Policy Leadership, Inspiration and Action, Entrepreneurial Vision, and Science and Innovation. This inclusive call invites individuals, organizations, and governmental entities alike to put forward their candidates for consideration. By highlighting individuals who are promoting good change in our pursuit of a more sustainable future, the prestigious Champions of the Earth award will be announced in late 2024.

In 2023, UNEP recognized leaders and organizations fighting plastic pollution. Honourees included Mayor Josefina Belmonte for policy efforts in Quezon City, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation for promoting lifecycle approaches to plastics, Blue Circle for innovative waste tracking in China, José Manuel Moller for refill services in Chile, and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research for scientific innovations in South Africa.

The imperative to restore and revive nature cannot be overstated, as it holds the key to improving both human and planetary health. Against the backdrop of the triple planetary crisis—comprising climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution—the efforts of Champions of the Earth serve as a hope, underscoring the inseparable link between environmental sustainability and sustainable development.

(Source: UNEP)

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