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Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley named UN Champion of the Earth

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Posted: Wednesday, December 8, 2021. 9:51 am CST.

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley is among four women named Champions of the Earth, the UN’s highest environmental honour, by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on Tuesday, December 7.

Mottley joins a scientist, indigenous women, and an entrepreneur who are being recognized for their transformative impact on the environment and their leadership in advancing bold and decisive action on behalf of people and the planet, said a UNEP statement.

The other awardees are the Sea Women of Melanesia, from Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands in the Inspiration and Action category; Ugandan scientist Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka in the Science and Innovation category; and Maria Kolesnikova, an entrepreneur from the Kyrgyz Republic in the Entrepreneurial Vision category.

“These Champions of the Earth inspire, defend, mobilize and act to tackle the greatest environmental challenges of our time, including ecosystem protection and restoration,” said the UNEP statement.

This year’s award recognizes laureates in the four categories of Inspiration and Action, Policy Leadership, Entrepreneurial Vision, and Science and Innovation.

According to UNEP, Mottley’s recognition is in the Policy Leadership category for “her powerful voice for a sustainable world from the global south” where she “consistently raises the alarm about the vulnerability of Small Island Developing States due to the climate emergency”.

UNEP said Mottley is “a driving force for climate action across the Latin American and the Caribbean region – the first to agree on the Action Plan for the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration”.

“Under her leadership, Barbados has adopted ambitious renewable energy targets, committing to a fossil-fuel-free electricity sector and transport by 2030. At the same time, Barbados is implementing numerous conservation and restoration projects, from forests, through cities, to the coastline and the ocean,” added the UNEP statement.

Mottley also co-chairs the One Health Global Leaders’ Group on Antimicrobial Resistance.

“As we enter into a decisive decade, to cut emissions and protect and restore ecosystems, UNEP’s Champions of the Earth demonstrate that all of us can contribute. Every single act for nature counts. The entire spectrum of humanity has both a global responsibility and a profound opportunity,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP. “This year’s Champions are women who not only inspire us, but also remind us that we have in our hands the solutions, the knowledge and the technology to limit climate change and avoid ecological collapse.”

UNEP said that since the Champions of the Earth award was established in 2005, the honours have been awarded to 101 of some of the world’s most dynamic environmental leaders, including 25 world leaders, 62 individuals, and 14 organizations.

This year, a record number of nominations were sent to UNEP.

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