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UN environment agency honours seven ‘Champions of the Earth’

UN environment agency honours seven ‘Champions of the Earth’

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has recognized seven winners of its ‘Champions of the Earth Award’ at a ceremony in Singapore where the agency’s chief praised the activists’ efforts to fight for change.

“If we are to shape a new partnership between human-kind and the natural environment upon which all life ultimately depends then we need leaders, we need champions – champions in public life, champions in business and champions in our communities,” said UNEP chief Achim Steiner, who presented the awards on Wednesday evening along with Shn Juay Shi Yan, the current ‘Miss Earth Singapore.’

“The seven winners honoured this evening are from different corners of the planet and drawn from different backgrounds and experiences. But they share a common sense of purpose and of values: namely, to reject the status quo, to persist when others may have failed and faltered and to deliberately seize the opportunities to promote more intelligent ways of managing development,” he said.

Actress and environmental campaigner Daryl Hannah, famous for films like “Splash” and her support for renewable energies, received the regional North America Champions prize on behalf of Al Gore, the former United States Vice-President and climate change campaigner.

Awards also went to Cherif Rahmani of Algeria, for his work on deserts and desertification; Elisea ‘Bebet’ Gillera Gozun of the Philippines for pushing forward the environmental agenda; Viveka Bohn of Sweden for leadership in chemical safety; Marina Silva of Brazil for protecting the rainforest; His Royal Highness Prince Hassan Bin Talal of Jordan for transboundary cooperation on environmental issues; and Jacques Rogge and the International Olympic Committee for introducing stringent environmental requirements for cities bidding to host the Games.