Who are this year’s Champions and Young Champions of the Earth?

The word champion is a powerful one; it can be a noun, or a verb, or even a descriptor of something excellent, someone extraordinary, the best of the best. All three meanings befit the winners of this year’s Champions of the Earth award and the Young Champions of the Earth prize.

On 11 December 2020, it is the privilege of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to announce the six Champions of the Earth laureates. This is the United Nations’ highest possible environmental honour, awarded to activists, heads of state, scientists and business leaders for their transformative impact on the environment, and their unapologetic demands that humans behave better for the sake of our planet and our future.

Then, on 15 December 2020, the seven Young Champions of the Earth prize winners will take the spotlight. These brilliant young environmentalists, aged 18-30, will receive seed funding and mentorship. UNEP designed this award to support their bold, innovative ideas to address some of the world’s most pressing environmental challenges.

These 13 champions were selected by a global jury following a public nomination process. This year was extremely competitive, with a record number of nominations. This demonstrates the increasing commitment to environmental protection, and the importance of doing our part to safeguard and restore our planet. 

The stakes could not be higher. From forest fires to floods, from species loss to zoonotic disease, the loss of nature and human expansion into wild spaces is provoking an environmental crisis. The UNEP champions demonstrate through their work that collective action can meet the multiplying and interlinked threats to our planet and its inhabitants. Their work is a challenge to all of us – a challenge to completely recalibrate our relationship with nature, to participate in bold and immediate action in service to our health, our financial stability and the health of our environment.

Where to find out this year’s winners

On 11 December: The six Champions of the Earth laureates will be announced here and on UNEP social media.

On 15 December: The seven Young Champions of the Earth will be announced here and on UNEP social media.

UN Environment