Prime Minister Narendra Modi received the UN Champions of the Earth award, the highest environmental honour of the United Nations on October 3, 2018. The award was presented by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres at a special ceremony in New Delhi.
Speaking on the occasion, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that Prime Minister Modi is a leader who realises the issue of climate change and understands the benefits of climate action. He said that PM Modi knows the problems and also works to solve them. He said that a green economy is a good economy and the technology is on the side of those who believe in a green economy.
The award was announced on September 26, 2018, on the sidelines of 73rd UN General Assembly in New York.
Prime Minister Modi has been selected in the leadership category for his pioneering work in championing the International Solar Alliance, a global partnership to scale up solar energy.
Through the award, the UN Environment is recognising Modi for his bold environmental leadership on the global stage.
The award is also in recognition of Modi’s unprecedented pledge to eliminate all single-use plastic in India by 2022.
The prestigious awards programme recognised six of the world’s most outstanding environmental changemakers this year for their combination of bold, innovative and tireless efforts to tackle some of the most urgent environmental issues.
The winners include world's first fully solar-powered airport Cochin International Airport in Kerala, Filipino environmental activist Joan Carling, Plant-based food alternative providers Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods and China’s Zhejiang’s Green Rural Revival Programme, which was awarded for the transformation of a once heavily polluted area of rivers and streams in East China's Zhejiang province.
French President Emmanuel Macron was jointly awarded with PM Modi in the Policy Leadership category for their efforts regarding the creation of the International Solar Alliance.
The annual 'Champions of the Earth' prize is awarded to outstanding leaders from government, civil society and the private sector whose actions have had a positive impact on the environment.
The award is the UN’s highest environmental recognition celebrating exceptional figures from the public and private sectors and from civil society.
The awards were established in 2005 under the United Nations Environment Programme. Since then, they have recognized 84 laureates ranging from leaders of nations to grassroots activists in the categories of policy, science, business and civil society.
The awards recognise 5-7 laureates annually and they are invited to an award ceremony to receive a trophy, give an acceptance speech and take part in a press conference. No financial awards are conferred.
In 2017, the 'Champions of the Earth' programme was expanded to include Young Champions of the Earth - a forward-looking prize for talented innovators, aged between18 and 30, who demonstrate outstanding potential to create positive environmental impact.
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