By NAN Staff Writer
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Tues. Dec. 7, 2021: A top Caribbean prime minister who just led her country to Republic status, has been named a UN 2021 Champion of the Earth.
The United Nations’ highest environmental award honor this year includes Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley. Mottley according to the UN, was honored in the Policy Leadership category “for her powerful voice for a sustainable world from the global south, consistently raises the alarm about the vulnerability of Small Island Developing States due to the climate emergency.” She is the only person from the Caribbean or Americas region to be honored this year.
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) 2021 Champions of the Earth. The Champions were chosen for their transformative impact on the environment and their leadership in advancing bold and decisive action on behalf of people and the planet.
The Barbados prime minister is a driving force for climate action across the Caribbean and Latin American region,the UN said and is the first to agree on the Action Plan for the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration.
“Under her leadership, Barbados has adopted ambitious renewable energy targets, committing to a fossil-fuel free electricity sector and transport by 2030,” the statement added. “At the same time, Barbados is implementing numerous conservation and restoration projects, from forests, through cities, to the coastline and the ocean.”
Mottely also co-chairs the One Health Global Leaders’ Group on Antimicrobial Resistance. She shares the 2021 honors with a scientist, an indigenous woman, and an entrepreneur for their own transformative impact in tackling climate change.
Since its inception in 2005, the annual Champions of the Earth award, the UN’s highest environmental honour, has been awarded to some of the world’s most dynamic environmental leaders. So far, it has been awarded to 101 laureates, including 25 world leaders, 62 individuals and 14 organizations. This year, UNEP received a record number of nominations from all over the world.
“As we enter into a decisive decade, to cut emissions and protect and restore ecosystems, UNEP’s Champions of the Earth demonstrate that all of us can contribute. Every single act for nature counts. The entire spectrum of humanity has both a global responsibility and a profound opportunity,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP. “This year’s Champions are women who not only inspire us, but also remind us that we have in our hands the solutions, the knowledge and the technology to limit climate change and avoid ecological collapse.”
The other UNEP 2021 Champions of the Earth are:
o The Sea Women of Melanesia (Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands), honored in the Inspiration and Action category, train local women to monitor and assess the impacts of widespread coral bleaching on some of the world’s most endangered reefs using marine science and technology.
o Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka (Uganda), honored in the Science and Innovation category, was the first-ever wildlife veterinarian of the Uganda Wildlife Authority, and is a recognised world authority on primates and zoonotic diseases. As the CEO and co founder of Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH), she leads the implementation of three integrated strategic programs using the ‘One Health’ approach; and
o Maria Kolesnikova (Kyrgyz Republic), honoured in the Entrepreneurial Vision category, is an environmental activist, youth advocate and head of MoveGreen, an organization working to monitor and improve air quality in the central Asia region. Under Kolesnikova, MoveGreen developed an app called AQ.kg, which collects real-time data every one to three hours from the two largest Kyrgyz cities, Bishkek and Osh, about the concentration of pollutants in the air, including nitrogen dioxide, PM 2.5 and PM 10.
The UN Environment Programme’s Champions of the Earth honours individuals, groups, and organizations whose actions have a transformative impact on the environment. The annual Champions of the Earth award is the UN’s highest environmental honour. It recognizes outstanding leaders from government, civil society, and the private sector.
The United Nations General Assembly has declared the years 2021 through 2030 the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. Led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations together with the support of partners, it is designed to prevent, halt, and reverse the loss and degradation of ecosystems worldwide. It aims at reviving billions of hectares, covering terrestrial as well as aquatic ecosystems. A global call to action, the UN Decade draws together political support, scientific research, and financial muscle to massively scale up restoration.