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un champion of the earth award 2018


Champions of the Earth, the UN’s highest environmental honour, celebrates outstanding figures from the public and private sectors and from civil society whose actions have had a transformative positive impact on the environment.

Launched in 2005, Champions of the Earth has recognized dozens of exemplary individuals and organizations.

Through their extraordinary achievements – whether through political leadership, grassroots action, scientific innovation, or entrepreneurial vision – each of these Champions has inspired critical action on behalf of the global environment.

Champions of the Earth recognizes laureates in the following categories:

  • Lifetime Achievement
  • Policy Leadership
  • Action and Inspiration
  • Entrepreneurial Vision
  • Science and Innovation


Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been awarded with 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.

Six of the world’s most outstanding environmental changemakers have been recognised with the Champions of the Earth Award, the UN’s highest environmental honour. 

“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.

French President Emmanuel Macron, President of France and Modi have been jointly recognised in the Policy Leadership category for their pioneering work in championing the International Solar Alliance and promoting new areas of levels of cooperation on environmental action, including Macron’s work on the Global Pact for the Environment and Modi’s unprecedented pledge to eliminate all single-use plastic in India by 2022.

Cochin International Airport has also been honoured this year with the award for Entrepreneurial Vision, for its leadership in the use of sustainable energy.

The other recipients of the award include indigenous activist Joan Carling, Food company Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, which develops plant-based substitutes for meat and dairy products, and China’s Zhejiang’s Green Rural Revival Programme.

Carling, who is the secretary general of the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact was recognised with the lifetime achievement award for her work “as one of the world’s most prominent defenders of environmental and indigenous rights”.

‘Beyond Meat’ and ‘Impossible Foods’ were 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”.

In the Inspiration and Action category, China’s Zhejiang’s Green Rural Revival Programme was selected. The programme is credited with transforming the once heavily polluted area of rivers and streams in East China’s Zhejiang province.

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 the defence of our one planet, said a report by the UN.

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