Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been awarded the UN’s highest environmental honour, bestowed upon five other individuals and organisations, for his leadership of the International Solar Alliance and pledge to eliminate single-use plastic in India by 2022.
Mr Modi, along with French President Emmanuel Macron, has been jointly recognised in the policy leadership category for pioneering work in championing the International Solar Alliance and promoting new areas of levels of cooperation on environmental action.
Six of the world’s most outstanding environmental change-makers have been recognised with the “Champions of the Earth Award”.
BJP president Amit Shah congratulated Mr Modi for the award. “It is a matter of great pride for every Indian” that PM Narendra Modi has been awarded the UN’s highest recognition for people whose actions have had a transformative impact on the environment, he said in a tweet.
“This years’ laureates are recognised for a combination of bold, innovative and tireless efforts to tackle some of the most urgent environmental issues of our times,” the UN Environment Programme said.
The Champions of the Earth Award is the UN’s highest environmental recognition celebrating exceptional figures from the public and private sectors and from civil society, whose actions have had a transformative positive impact on the environment.
The Entrepreneurial Vision Award was given to solar-powered Cochin International Airport its leadership in the use of sustainable energy. “Cochin is showing the world that our ever-expanding network of global movement doesn’t have to harm the environment. As the pace of society continues to increase, the world’s first fully solar-powered airport is proof positive that green business is good business,” the UNEP statement said.
The awards will be presented during the Champions of the Earth Gala in New York City, on the sidelines of the 73rd UN General Assembly.
The gala, hosted by actor and environmental activist Alec Baldwin and model, actress, producer and UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador Dia Mirza, will bring together a cross section of world leaders and influencers to celebrate momentum for change in defence of our one planet.
The other winners of the 2018 Champions of the Earth Award are Joan Carling, recognised with the lifetime achievement award for her work as one of the world’s most prominent defenders of environmental and indigenous rights. She has been at the forefront of the conflict for land and the environment for more than 20 years.
Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are jointly recognised in the Science and Innovation category, for their revolutionary development of a popular, plant-based alternative to beef, and for their efforts to educate consumers about environmentally conscious alternatives.
China’s Zhejiang’s Green Rural Revival Programme was awarded for Inspiration and Action for the transformation of a once heavily polluted area of rivers and streams in East China’s Zhejiang province.
This exceptionally successful eco-restoration programme shows the transformative power of economic and environmental development together.
“In a world of uncertainty, this is certain: We will not solve the extraordinary challenges our world faces today without extraordinary talent, new thinking and bold ideas,” said head of UN Environment Erik Solheim.
“The Champions of the Earth Award and Young Champions of the Earth Prize recognise those not afraid to chart unknown waters or be the voice of the voiceless. These people are changing our world today for a better tomorrow.”
The Champions of the Earth award is the UN’s highest environmental recognition celebrating exceptional figures from the public and private sectors and from civil society, whose actions have had a transformative positive impact on the environment.
Past laureates include: Afroz Shah, who led the world’s largest beach cleanup (2016), Rwandan President Paul Kagame (2016), former US vice-president Al Gore (2007), Ocean Cleanup CEO Boyan Slat (2014), scientist-explorer Bertrand Piccard, and developer of Google Earth Brian McClendon (2013).