UNEP opens 2021 nominations for prestigious Champions of the Earth Award

The United Nations (UN) today called for nominees for its Champions of the Earth award – the world body’s highest honour for individuals and organizations that are safeguarding our environment and transforming societies.

The call for nominations comes a month after UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned that humanity is waging war on nature with biodiversity collapsing, ecosystems disappearing, air and water pollution killing millions of people and climate change worsening with apocalyptic fires and floods.

For the past 15 years, the Champions of the Earth award has shone a spotlight on the work of people and organizations that have dedicated their lives to working for a healthier, more just and more sustainable planet. Laureates have ranged from heads of state and community activists to captains of industry and pioneering scientists.

2020 saw more nominations than ever before; the growing interest reflecting the increasing number of people standing up for the environment. 

The 2020 Champions of the Earth laureates in alphabetical order are:

  • Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama of Fiji, honoured in the Policy Leadership category for his global climate action work and his commitment to climate-responsive national development
  • Dr. Fabian Leendertz (Germany), honoured in the Science and Innovation category for his discoveries in zoonotics and his work in One Health
  • Mindy Lubber (USA), recognized in the Entrepreneurial Vision category for her commitment to turning capital markets green by mobilizing top investors and companies and making the business case for climate action and sustainability
  • Nemonte Nenquimo (Ecuador), awarded in the Inspiration and Action category for her leadership and unifying work with indigenous communities that halted drilling in Ecuador’s Amazon rainforest
  • Yacouba Sawadogo (Burkina Faso), also honoured in the Inspiration and Action category for teaching farmers his traditional nature-based solution to regenerate their soil and turn barren land into arable land and forest across Africa

This year’s champions are joined by Professor Robert D. Bullard (USA) who was awarded the Champion of the Earth Lifetime Achievement award for his commitment and service to environmental justice.

Nominations are open to everyone and nominees can be individuals, government entities, companies and other organizations. The deadline for nominations is February 12, 2021.

Nominate a Champion of the Earth here.