PM receives UNEP’s “Champions of the Earth” award
28 September 2015, Nirapad News: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at a gala reception on Sunday evening received the highest environmental accolade “Champions of the Earth” award of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for her outstanding leadership on the frontline of climate change.
UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner handed over the Award to Bangladesh Prime Minister appreciating her as an inspirational leader as she showed the necessity to work for environment protection and climate change. Bangladesh is the first ever country prepared climate change strategy and action plan apart from taking many other stirring actions, he said.
UNEP also honoured four other inspirational environmental leaders conferring them with the “Champions of the Earth” award at a colourful ceremony at Hotel Cipriani Le Specialita yesterday evening.
National Geographic Society, Unilever CEO, Brazilian Cosmetics Firm “Natura” and South African “Black Mamba Anti-Poaching Unit” were the other personality and organization that received the Award.
Receiving the award, Sheikh Hasina said, “As the world talks about a Common Future for all, we are ready to do our part of commitment to protect and nurture our planet.”
“This Award is recognition of the spirit and resilience of our people in fighting climate change. On behalf of my people, I accept the Award,” she said, adding that without their support it was completely impossible.
This year’s awards, presided over by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Goodwill Ambassadors, actor Ian Somerhalder and model Gisele B?ndchen, as well as actress Nikki Reed, were focused on supporting the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Finance Minister Abul Maal Abul Muhith, PM’s ICT Advisor Sajeeb Wajed Joy, and Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, among others, were present on the occasion.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was given the Award in Policy Leadership category for her outstanding leadership on the frontline of climate change.
National Geographic Society received the Award in Science and Innovation Category for over a century of life-changing science, exploration and storytelling.
Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, was honoured with the Award in the category of Entrepreneurial Vision for challenging business norms to show that sustainable, equitable and environmentally-conscious business is smart business. Natura (Brazilian Cosmetics Firm) was given the Award for unparalleled commitment to trailblazing sustainable business models.
And the Black Mamba Anti-Poaching Unit (South Africa) has been given the Award in Inspiration And Action category for outstanding courage in fighting the illegal wildlife trade at community level.
Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh never waited for foreign fund as far as climate change issues are concerned. Developed countries didn’t maintain their commitment to deliver adequate finance for climate change. From the own budget, she said her government has kept provision to address the vulnerability.
The Prime Minister said, “People of Bangladesh believe conservation and protection of environment is a time-honoured responsibility. It comes out of Bangalees’ belief, practices and culture which evolved over centuries in the Bengal Delta,” Sheikh Hasina said receiving the award.
Recognizing the adverse impacts of climate change, her government since 2009 has been mobilizing own resources and people to address the existential threat.
The Prime Minister said innovative people of Bangladesh and homegrown solutions have brought about remarkable results in addressing climate change. By installing four million solar home systems, she said Bangladesh has become the first “solar nation” in the world.
The Prime Minister said in spite of climatic challenges, the agricultural growth of Bangladesh surpassed population growth ensuring food security for 160 million people. “It is another development miracle.”
UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said, “This weekend, we witnessed a historic moment. A total of 193 nations committed to a sustainable path forward for the entire planet and its peoples through the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals. This is a major achievement, but the hard work now begins in earnest.
“With 17 goals that integrate all aspects of our economies, societies and the environment, the challenge is formidable. Each of this year’s five UN Champions of the Earth demonstrates that this challenge can, and I believe will be met to help usher in an equitable and sustainable future for all.”
The 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.
Since being founded eleven years ago, the Award has recognized 72 laureates — ranging from leaders of nations to grassroots activists — in the categories of policy, science, business and civil society.