Prime Minister Narendra Modi received the United Nation’s highest environmental honour on 3 October 2018, the ‘Champions of the Earth Award’ from United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, at a ceremony in Delhi. He is among the six winners who got the award today. “It is an honour for Indians. PM Modi has got this award jointly with Emmanuel Macron, the president of France. The award was announced on September 26 on the sidelines of 73rd UN General Assembly in New York. But do you know about the award and why Narendra Modi has won it? Keep scrolling to read more.
What is the Champions of the Earth award?
Champions of the Earth, the UN’s highest environmental honour, celebrates outstanding figures from the public and private sectors and from civil society whose actions have had a transformative positive impact on the environment.
Launched in 2005, Champions of the Earth has recognized dozens of exemplary individuals and organizations. Through their extraordinary achievements – whether through political leadership, grassroots action, scientific innovation, or entrepreneurial vision – each of these Champions has inspired critical action on behalf of the global environment.
Past laureates include Unilever CEO Paul Polman, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, ocean explorer and conservationist Sylvia Earle, and the National Geographic Society, among many others.
Why Did Modi Win the UN’s Champions of the Earth Award?
The award was announced Wednesday for his “unprecedented pledge to eliminate all single-use plastic in India by 2022.” Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron were recognised in the ‘Policy Leadership Category’ for their “pioneering work in championing” the International Solar Alliance and “new areas of levels of cooperation on environmental action”, the UN Environment Programme said.
“For his leadership in the fight against plastic pollution in India, and his unwavering commitment to tackling climate change around the world, UN Environment has bestowed the United Nations’ highest environmental honour upon Indian Prime minister Narendra Modi today, by awarding him the Champions of the Earth award,” UN Environment said.
“Prime minister Modi‘s unprecedented bold stance in the fight against single-use plastic sent a clear message to the world that the time for action is now,” Head of UN Environment Erik Solheim said. “It is ambitious leaders like him that will propel us forward in the fight to keep our natural environment healthy, accessible and sustainable for all. For this, I am immensely inspired and grateful.”
The UN environment agency said that under Modi’s leadership, Indian sustainable policy implementation and green grassroots initiatives have flourished, with forty million new cooking gas connections and over three hundred million LED bulbs being installed across the country. A major push towards renewable energy in recent years has propelled India to become the fifth largest producer of solar energy and the sixth largest producer of renewable energy worldwide.
Words By PM
While accepting the award, PM Modi said, “I accept this award on behalf of millions of Indians who protect the environment each and every day… From fisherfolk who only take what they need or tribal communities who think of forests as their family. We will never be able to tackle climate change without bringing climate into our culture. And this is why India is taking so much action for our climate.”
“It is an honour for Indians. Indians are committed to saving the environment. Climate and calamity are directly related to culture; if climate is not the focus of culture, calamity cannot be prevented. When I say ‘Sabka Saath,’ I also include nature in it,” Modi said.
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