THE United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has officially started accepting applications for the 2020 Young Champions of the Earth prize.
The global competition is one of the UN’s most prestigious prizes for young environmental entrepreneurs who have big ideas to solve the planet’s most pressing environmental challenges.
Winners selected from seven regions spanning the globe will receive seed money to invest in their projects, as well as mentorship and the opportunity to attend high-level UN meetings to share their innovations with the world. UNEP will follow them on their journeys and provide updates on their progress as they implement their big ideas.
“This programme can really open doors for you,” said Arpit Dhupar, 2018 winner for the Asia and the Pacific region, for his novel technique to control emissions from diesel generators. “If you’re young and you’re passionate about the project you’re working on, the Young Champions of the Earth programme can help you get there and spread your message to as many people as possible.”
With climate change threatening the existence of our natural ecosystems and societies, UNEP seeks to support young visionaries who recognize the scale of the global environmental crisis and have the courage to find innovative solutions – many of which use nature itself – to build a healthier planet.
“Young people are at the forefront of climate advocacy, challenging their governments, businesses and decision-makers to step up action to ensure they can have a healthy future in a sustainable world,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP. “It is deeply inspiring to see young people also innovating and finding solutions to the environmental challenges around them; I have great respect for the winners, and all the competitors, of the Young Champions of the Earth prize for their work towards a greener, cleaner planet.” Previous Young Champions of the Earth winners have spearheaded bold, brave ideas to address critical environmental issues and the Sustainable Development Goals through high- and low-tech innovations. Last year’s winners included an Angolan ethno-conservatist working with communities to conserve the Okavango, one of the world’s last remaining wild spaces, a Nepalese software engineer who aims to make electric public transportation a quality alternative to private vehicles, and a Lebanese industrial engineer who works with students and refugees to reuse and recycle unwanted clothes.
Applications for the Young Champions of the Earth will be subjected to a global jury tasked to select seven winners from Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, North America and West Asia.
Young Champions of the Earth is a forward-looking prize designed to breathe life into the ambitions of brilliant young environmentalists. It celebrates young people who have a big idea to protect or restore the environment, a vision for a more sustainable future and a strong track record of instigating change.
UNEP is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing and enabling nations and people to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. UNEP works with governments, the private sector, the civil society and with other UN entities and international organizations across the world.
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