Professor Robert D Bullard from the United States of America, Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, Dr Fabian Leendertz (Germany), Mindy Klubber (USA), Nemonte Nenquino (Ecuador) and Yacouba Sawadoga (Burkina Faso) were presented with the Champions of the Earth award, the highest UN environmental honour.
The Champions of the Earth award is given annually to outstanding leaders from government, civil society and the private sector. Bullard got the Champion of the Earth Lifetime Achievement award for his commitment and service to environmental justice.
While Bainimarama was given the award in the Policy Leadership category for his global climate action work and his commitment to climate responsive national development, Dr Fabian Leendertz (Germany) was presented the award in Science and Innovation category for his discoveries in zoonotics and his work in One Health.
Mindy Klubber got recognition in the Entrepreneurial Vision category for her commitment to turning capital markets green by mobilizing top investors and companies and making the business case for climate action and sustainability. Nenquino bagged the award in the Inspiration and Action category for her leadership and unifying work with indigenous communities that halted drilling in Ecuador’s Amazon rainforest. Sawadoga got the award in the Inspiration and Action category for teaching farmers his traditional nature based solution to regenerate their soil and turn barren land into arable land and forest across Africa.
Since its inception in 2005, the annual Champions of the Earth award has brought visibility and validation to some of the world’s most dynamic environmental leaders, from pioneering scientists and captains of industry to heads of state and community activists, an official statement said.
Congratulating the award winners, UN Secretary General António Guterres said, “in the middle of a global pandemic, with societies struggling, economies stretched to their limits and an escalating biodiversity and climate crisis, we need to act boldly and urgently to repair our relationship with nature and take the path of sustainable development. Each year, the United Nations honours these environmental champions for their leadership and vision. Their efforts confront the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution.”
UNEP’s Executive Director Inger Andersen said that the winners not only inspired the world but also remind that the people have solutions for everything in their own hands. Andersen said that the people are well aware of the knowledge and technology to limit climate change and avoid ecological collapse
The Champions of the Earth award presented first in 2005. Since then, 95 laureates including 24 world leaders, 57 individuals and 12 organizations were presented the award.