UNEP Calls for Nominations for 2024 Young Champions of the Earth Award

In a bid to tackle the pressing challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) has opened nominations for its prestigious Young Champions of the Earth award. This annual initiative celebrates the innovative spirit and dedication of young environmentalists aged between 18 and 30 who are leading groundbreaking projects to safeguard the planet.

UNEP is seeking seven exceptional individuals who are pioneering solutions to protect and restore nature while addressing the interconnected issues of climate change, ecosystem degradation, and pollution. The selected Young Champions will not only receive seed funding of US$20,000 but also gain access to high-level UN meetings, mentorship from global experts, and intensive training to bring their environmental initiatives to fruition.

The initiative, jointly organized with the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, aims to support the new Global Biodiversity Framework by nurturing a new generation of environmental leaders. Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP, emphasized the importance of empowering young entrepreneurs, scholars, creators, and activists to drive positive change and recalibrate humanity’s relationship with nature.

Past winners of UNEP’s Young Champions of the Earth award have demonstrated the transformative impact of youth-led initiatives including Adjany Costa, who developed a model for communities in one of the last wildlife hubs in eastern Angola, Lefteris Arapakis, from Greece, who trains, empowers and incentivizes old and new fishermen in the Mediterranean to collect plastic from the sea, and Eritai Kateibwi, whose Te Maeu Project focuses on developing low-impact hydroponics growing system to bring fresh crops to Kiribati. These young environmentalists have showcased the potential of innovative approaches in addressing environmental challenges.

The initiative not only recognizes the critical role of youth in environmental stewardship but also accentuates the need for greater access to financing, networks, and partnerships for young changemakers. Supported by Elephant17.org, an initiative founded by Chris Kemper, UNEP’s Advocate for Partnerships and Chairman, Founder, and Chief Executive Officer of Palmetto Clean Technology, UNEP’s Young Champions of the Earth program aims to empower young people by promoting environmental stewardship globally.

Chris Kemper highlighted the importance of harnessing the entrepreneurial drive and passion of emerging leaders to drive systemic change and meet the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change. With the application window open until April 5th, aspiring environmental leaders are encouraged to step forward and showcase their innovative solutions for a greener future.

The Young Champions of the Earth award aims to serve as a beacon of hope, inspiring a new generation of environmental leaders to drive meaningful change and safeguard the planet for future generations.

*For more information and to submit nominations, visit the UNEP website. *

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