By Elton Gomes
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French president Emmanuel Macron have jointly been awarded the United Nations Champions of the Earth award for their pioneering work in championing the International Solar Alliance. The two leaders were also awarded for promoting new areas of levels of cooperation on environmental action.
“I accept, with all humility, the Champions of the Earth Award and thank the @UN for conferring this honour. This Award is not for an individual but for the Indian tradition and value systems of living in harmony with nature and protecting the environment,” PM Modi said in a series of tweets, according to a PTI report.
He also congratulated Macron on for receiving the award. “The honour is a fitting recognition for his work towards creating a cleaner and greener tomorrow. His role in strengthening the International Solar Alliance is also extremely commendable,” Modi said.
The UN Environment Programme noted in a statement that “This year’s laureates are recognised for a combination of bold, innovative and tireless efforts to tackle some of the most urgent environmental issues of our times,” as per the PTI report.
Cochin airport receives Champion of the Earth award
Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL), the world’s first fully solar-powered airport, has been awarded the UN environment award for Entrepreneurial Vision.
CIAL is the first greenfield airport to be built under the public-private partnership, and it received the award for using sustainable energy.
“Cochin is showing the world that our ever-expanding network of global movement doesn’t have to harm the environment. As the pace of society continues to increase, the world’s first fully solar-powered airport is proof positive that green business is good business,” the United Nations Environment Programme said in a statement.
The Times of India reported that earlier in the year, UN environment Executive Director Erik Solheim along with his team paid a visit to the Cochin international airport. Seeing the solar power plant, Solheim called it a leading example among global airports.
Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) MD V.J. Kurian was quoted in the report as saying that by September 2018, CIAL will upgrade its solar capacity to 40 megawatts, and it will have a power potential of 60 million units per annum, which would save Rs 40 crores a year.
What is the award about?
The UN’s highest environmental honour – Champions of the Earth – celebrates outstanding figures from the public and private sectors as well as from civil society. The honour is conferred upon individuals whose actions have had a positive impact on the environment.
Who else has been awarded?
China’s Green Rural Revival Programme has been awarded for Inspiration and Action for transforming a once heavily polluted area of rivers and streams in East China’s Zhejiang province. The Rural Revival program showed the transformative power of economic and environmental development.
Philippines-based environmental activist Joan Carling received the lifetime achievement award for her remarkable work as one of the world’s most prominent defenders of environmental and indigenous rights. For more than two decades, Carling has been spearheading the fight to reclaim land and environment. Her tireless and selfless efforts towards the environment have made her a champion among people and communities around the world.
In the Science and Innovation category, Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods have been jointly recognised for their revolutionary development of a popular, plant-based alternative to beef. Both initiatives were also lauded for their efforts to educate consumers about environmentally conscious alternatives.
All recipients will be awarded during the Champions of the Earth Gala in New York City, on the sidelines of the 73rd UN General Assembly. The gala will be hosted by actor and environmental activist Alec Baldwin and model, actress, producer, and UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador Dia Mirza. The programme will bring together a cross-section of world leaders and influencers to celebrate momentum for change while defending our planet.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius
Stay updated with all the insights.
Navigate news, 1 email day.
Subscribe to Qrius