The UN’s highest environmental honour, “2020 Champions of the Earth award” has been opened to recognize the contribution of outstanding leaders from government, civil society and the private sector whose actions have had a positive impact on the environment.
Every year, individuals, groups and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to the protection and restoration of the environment are recognized in four categories:
- Policy leadership
- Inspiration and action
- Entrepreneurial vision
- Science and innovation
The criteria for selection are:
- Impact – Have the nominee’s actions resulted in profound environmental gains or demonstrated significant potential for replication and scaling?
- Novelty – Has the nominee done or achieved something new and innovative?
- Power of the story – How compelling and inspiring is the nominee’s story?
Champions are selected from hundreds of nominees globally, submitted during a public nominating process. Once submitted, a team of UN Environment Programme (UNEP) staff research and prepare detailed profiles of each candidate, their achievements and qualifications. The profiles are reviewed by a broader group of UNEP experts before submission to a jury who select the laureates. In 2019, the jury consisted of five leaders of United Nations and other international organizations.
Executive Director of UNEP, Inger Andersen said, “Through the Champions of the Earth award, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) seeks to recognize the immense contributions of people from all walks of life to supporting a healthy planet. At a time when humanity continues to wreak havoc on our environment, we celebrate those individuals, communities, businesses and governments who go the extra mile to protect the earth.”
Since its launch, UNEP has presented the Champions of the Earth award to 93 laureates, ranging from world leaders to environmental defenders and technology inventors. They include 22 world leaders, 57 individuals and 14 groups or organizations.
Winners are shortlisted and a team of UN Environment Programme staff reviews the list of nominees and prepares a shortlist to be submitted before a global jury. A global jury comprised of high-profile individuals from different United Nations agencies and international organizations reviews the shortlist of nominations and selects their winning choice in each award category. Winners are disclosed publicly during a gala ceremony recognizing their achievement. The awards will be presented to this year’s laureates at a ceremony later this year.
The nominations will remain open until 20th March 2020. The awards will be presented to this year’s laureates at a ceremony later this year.
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