Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday received the United Nation’s highest environmental honour, 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. 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.
After conferring the award to PM Modi, Guterres in a tweet said: “The world needs bold leadership on climate action. I thank India for setting an example and was pleased to present Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the 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.
The Cochin International Airport took home the ‘Entrepreneurial Vision’ Award for its leadership in the use of 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 UNEP statement said.
The other winners include environmental and indigenous rights defender Joan Carling and the ‘Beyond Meat and Impossible Food’ in the Science and Innovation category for their popular, plant-based alternative to beef and “their efforts to educate consumers about environmentally conscious alternatives.”
China’s Zhejiang’s Green Rural Revival Programme was awarded for the Inspiration and Action for the “transformation of a once heavily polluted area of rivers and streams in East China’s Zhejiang province.”
Past winners have included Afroz Shah, who led the world’s largest beach cleanup and won the award in 2016, Rwandan President Paul Kagame also won the same year, while former US Vice-President Al Gore won the award in 2007.
Ocean Cleanup CEO Boyan Slat won in 2014, while scientist-explorer Bertrand Piccard, and developer of Google Earth Brian McClendon won the award in 2013.
Addressing an event in Rajkot on Sunday, Modi had said cleanliness was an important aspect of Mahatma Gandhi’s life and the father of the nation was the most deserving candidate for the UN green award.