UNEP’s 2023 Champions of the Earth Award
14 March 2023
Nominations open for UNEP’s 2023 Champions of the Earth Award with a focus on plastic pollution solutions.
- The Champions of the Earth award honours individuals, groups, and organizations whose actions have a transformative impact on the environment.
- This year, UNEP seeks nominations of individuals, organisations, and governments working on sustainable solutions to eliminate plastic pollution.
- Nominations are open from 14 March to 14 April 2023.
Nairobi, 14 March 2023 – The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) today launched a call for nominations for its annual Champions of the Earth award – the UN’s highest environmental honour – to recognize outstanding leaders from government, civil society, and the private sector for their transformative impact on the environment.
This year, UNEP seeks nomination of individuals, organisations and governments developing and implementing innovative and sustainable solutions and policies to eliminate plastic pollution.
Following a historic UN Environment Assembly resolution in 2022 to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment with the ambition to complete the negotiations by end of 2024, the year 2023 is critical to ensuring the world comes together to end the scourge of plastic pollution. This year’s World Environment Day, hosted by Cote d'Ivoire, will also focus on efforts to #BeatPlasticPollution.
The challenge of the triple planetary crisis of climate change, nature loss and pollution and waste is not insurmountable. People around the world are stepping forward every day to innovate and implement ways to support nature’s extraordinary capacity for renewal. The Champions of the Earth help lead that push. They remind us that environmental sustainability is key to achieving sustainable development.
Since the award’s inception in 2005, a total of 111 laureates have been honoured as Champions of the Earth: 26 world leaders, 69 individuals and 16 organizations.
In 2022, the Champions of the Earth Award received a record number of nominations from all over the world. The growing interest over the years reflects the increasing number of people standing up for the environment and greater acknowledgement of the value of this work.
UNEP’s 2022 Champions of the Earth laureates are:
- Arcenciel (Lebanon), honoured in the Inspiration and Action category, is a leading environmental enterprise whose work to create a cleaner, healthier environment has laid the foundation for the country’s national waste management strategy. Today, arcenciel recycles more than 80 per cent of Lebanon’s potentially infectious hospital waste every year.
- Constantino (Tino) Aucca Chutas (Peru), also honoured in the Inspiration and Action category, has pioneered a community reforestation model driven by local and Indigenous communities, which has led to three million trees being planted in the country. He is also leading ambitious reforestation efforts in other Andean countries.
- Sir Partha Dasgupta (United Kingdom), honoured in the Science and Innovation category, is an eminent economist whose landmark review on the economics of biodiversity calls for a fundamental rethink of humanity’s relationship with the natural world to prevent critical ecosystems from reaching dangerous tipping points.
- Dr Purnima Devi Barman (India), honoured in the Entrepreneurial Vision category, is a wildlife biologist who leads the “Hargila Army”, an all-female grassroots conservation movement dedicated to protecting the Greater Adjutant Stork from extinction. The women create and sell textiles with motifs of the bird, helping to raise awareness about the species while building their own financial independence.
- Cécile Bibiane Ndjebet (Cameroon), honoured in the Inspiration and Action category, is a tireless advocate for the rights of women in Africa to secure land tenure, which is essential if they are to play a role in restoring ecosystems, fighting poverty and mitigating climate change. She is also leading efforts to influence policy on gender equality in forest management across 20 African countries.
Individuals, government entities, groups and organisations may be nominated under the categories of Policy Leadership, Inspiration and Action, Entrepreneurial Vision, and Science and Innovation. Nominations are open from 14 March to 14 April 2023 to everyone; the Champions of the Earth will be announced in late 2023.
Nominate a Champion of the Earth
NOTES TO EDITORS
About the UNEP Champions of the Earth
UNEP’s Champions of the Earth honours individuals, groups, and organizations whose actions have a transformative impact on the environment. The annual Champions of the Earth award is the UN’s highest environmental honour. It recognizes outstanding leaders from government, civil society, and the private sector.
About the UN Environment Programme
UNEP is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.
For more information, please contact:
News and Media Unit, UN Environment Programme