UN Champions of the Earth 2021

2021 Champions of the Earth Award

Get to know the Champions of the Earth Award 2021

The transformative impact on the environment is one of the most valued priorities for the nominations for the Champions of the Earth awards. The Champions of the Earth Awards 2021 is a program under the UN Decade on Ecosystem restoration organized by the UN Environmental Programme.

Hope and inspiration are the main values that the 2021’s ‘Champions of the Earth Award’ bring to the frontlines of environmental action. You can look forward to the online announcements this December. Learn more about the Categories and laureates of the Champions of the Earth Award 2021.

What is the Champions of the Earth 2021 Award?

The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration calls for urgent environmental action. The good news stories from this year’s laureates leverage the objectives for the upcoming decade (to be launched in December too).

We need ecosystems that support all life on Earth. Wildlife and humans. Because “the healthier our ecosystems are, the healthier the planet – and its people.” That’s why the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration is preventing, halting, and reversing the global trend of ecosystem degradation. Both terrestrial and marine, on every continent, and in every ocean.

The Champions of the Earth Award Categories

The yearly awards go to representatives – individuals or organisations – of the following categories: Policy Leadership, Inspiration and Action, Science and Innovation, Entrepreneurial Vision.

Policy Leadership

Individuals or organizations that promoted and achieved “profound, positive change for the environment” through public service qualify for the category of policy leadership.

Inspiration and Action

Pressing environmental and social issues call for daring environmental action. These individuals or organizations need to become role models for others and inspire and motivate positive change for coexistence on the planet.

Science and Innovation

Breaking findings or disruptive technology that brings about positive impacts on the environment and people – this is the science and innovation category.

Entrepreneurial Vision

The Entrepreneurial Vision award category recognizes individuals or organizations that can demonstrate how environmental and social sustainability go hand in hand with financial profitability.

Champions of the Earth 2021 laureates.

The 2021 laureates demonstrated environmental victories that inspire change, mobilize people to act, and tackle the greatest environmental challenges we ever faced. They inspire societies to change for the better.

The good news is, the global jury faced a challenging decision to shortlist applicants from all over the world. Therefore, the year 2021 has become an inspiring year for a high number of people acting to restore and regenerate the Earth. The 2021 Champions of the Earth Award brings solutions closer to the people and demonstrates that people step up to implement them.

Get to know the 2021 laureates:

Mia Mottley – a Barbados prime Minister representing the Policy Leadership category. Ambassador of global sustainability, voicing people of the global south and accelerating the Action Plan for the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration in Latin America and Caribbean.

The Sea Women of Melanesia (Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands), are empowering local women by practical and scientific capacity building for monitoring and assessing the impacts of widespread coral bleaching. They don’t only challenge the status quo of indigenous women staying in their households, but also women’s position in the communities and the society.

Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka (Uganda) works to restore the relationship between humans and wildlife. She is honored in the Science and Innovation category as the first-ever wildlife veterinarian of the Uganda Wildlife Authority, and a recognized world authority on primates and zoonotic diseases.

Maria Kolesnikova (Kyrgyz Republic) is an environmental activist advocating for a cleaner future for our next generations. Working in Central Asia on monitoring and improving the air quality, she is the director of MoveGreen.


See the latest UNEP press release about the Champions of Earth 2021.

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