Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on 14 September 2015 won the United Nations Champions of the Earth Award for Policy Leadership to address the issue of climate change. She was chosen by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) for this prestigious award.
Sheikh Hasina has demonstrated leadership in making climate change an issue of national priority and advocating for an ambitious global response. UNEP noted that Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries to the impacts of climate change. Cyclones, floods and droughts have long been part of the country's history, but they have intensified in recent years.
However, through a number of forward-looking policy initiatives and investments, Bangladesh has successfully confronted the challenge of climate change at the core of its development. The award cites the progressive Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan of 2009.
This action plan made this South Asian nation the first developing country to frame such a coordinated action plan. Bangladesh is also the first country to set up its own Climate Change Trust Fund, supported by nearly 300 million US dollars of domestic resources from 2009-2012.
Moreover, under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina, the Bangladesh Constitution was amended in 2011 to include a constitutional directive to the State to protect the environment and natural resources for current and future generations.
In addition to Sheikh Hasina, the other winners announced so far are the National Geographic Society (Science and Innovation); Brazilian cosmetics firm Natura (Entrepreneurial Vision); and South Africa’s Black Mamba Anti-Poaching Unit (Inspiration and Action).
About UNEP Champions of the Earth Award
• It is United Nation's top environmental accolade awarded by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
• It recognizes visionary people and organisations all over the world that exemplify leadership and advocate action on sustainable development, climate change and a life of dignity for all.
• The annual award was established in 2004.
• The awards are conferred in four categories- Policy Leadership, Entrepreneurial Vision, Inspiration and Action and Science and Innovation.
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When: 14 September 2015