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Meet the Winners of "Champions of the Earth 2022" Awards

The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) Annually Organizes the “Champions of the Earth” Awards. We Tell you which were the Winners of this Year Thanks to their Great Contribution to the Conservation of the Planet.

Constantine Aucca Shoots

Photo: UNEP.org

LatinAmerican Post | Erika Benitez

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Leer en español: Conoce los ganadores de los premios "Campeones de la Tierra 2022"

The United Nations Environment Program Champions of the Earth award is the world's most important environmental distinction. Since its creation in 2005, it has recognized the work of outstanding leaders from the government, civil society and the private sector who ensure a more sustainable future. This year around 2,200 nominations were received, a new record.

According to UNEP, "every year the planet loses a forest cover equivalent to the size of Portugal, which entails disastrous consequences in terms of the climate crisis and biodiversity", which is why the generation of innovative initiatives that protect the environment and the ecosystems. The awards are divided into 3 categories: Inspiration and Action, Entrepreneurial Vision, and Science and Innovation.

Learn about the history of the "Champions of the Earth 2022"

For this term, 3 winners were chosen in the Inspiration and Action category.

Arcenciel: effective management in times of crisis

It is a Lebanon-based non-profit organization created to support the wounded of the Lebanese civil war. In addition to working for the people most in need, it contributes to environmental sustainability and the conservation of natural resources. With programs such as "Sustainable Agriculture and the Environment", it contributes to solid waste management.

In 2020, a powerful explosion ripped through the port of Beirut, leaving behind a large amount of debris and broken glass. Arcenciel was one of the organizations that actively participated in the massive cleanup, managing to collect 9,000 tons of glass in the affected neighborhoods. Likewise, it has played a fundamental role during the COVID-19 pandemic, in the collection of hospital waste, currently, it recycles more than 80% of potentially infectious waste every year.

Constantino Aucca Chutas: "Conservation became a necessity"

Among the winners, there is a Latino. This is the Peruvian biologist Constantino Aucca, who has pioneered the community reforestation model with indigenous people and local communities. He has been working to protect the forests of South America for more than 30 years. In 2000, he founded the Association of Andean Ecosystems (ECOAN), which has planted more than 3 million trees throughout Peru and protected 30,000 hectares of land.

In 2018, ECOAN and the US NGO Global Forest Generation launched the "Andean Action" initiative to expand the scope of ecosystem preservation to other countries in the region. Also, the reforestation model was created, and it has been possible for local communities to obtain property titles to their lands, shielding them from the exploitation of large companies.

Currently, Acción Andina, with Constantino as president and co-founder, oversees plans to protect 1 million hectares of forests in Bolivia, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, and Peru. Likewise, protected areas have been created to carry out medical campaigns in rural and remote areas and solar panels have been managed. His great work and management has achieved a significant impact on the environment and above all on the quality of life of the communities.

Cécile Bibiane Ndjebet: ecofeminisms in Africa

Ndjebet is the co-founder of Cameroon Ecology and president of the "African Women's Network for Community Forest Management" (REFACOF), an organization that works for forest management in African countries. She has established itself as a powerful voice for women's rights on the African continent. She is recognized for her fight for gender equality and her work to repair hundreds of hectares of nature affected by development advances.

In 2012, she was recognized as a Climate Change Champion by the Central African Forest Commission for her leadership in mobilizing civil society organizations for sustainable forest management. Through REFACOF, forestry policies have been proposed to the governments of 20 African states to ensure the rights of women in forestry and natural resource management.

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Dr. Purmina Devi Bartender

Purmina, was awarded in the Business Vision category. She is a wildlife biologist, Master in Zoology and with doctoral studies on the helper stork, a species that is in danger of extinction and is the second-rarest stork species in the world. She was the forerunner of the "Hargila Army" movement, which today has more than 10,000 women dedicated to protecting helper storks and their habitat.

Likewise, it has helped communities plant 45,000 trees and wetlands where this species of storks nests. The women also carry out clean-up campaigns on river banks and in wetlands to remove plastic from the water and reduce pollution.

Sir Partha Dasgupta

He was awarded in the category of Science and Innovation. He is a physicist and mathematician from India, he moved to the UK where he did his PhD in Economics. His theories have been of great contribution to the world debate on sustainable development and the use of natural resources. In 2021, Dasgupa, together with a team of experts, published a study on the "Economics of Biodiversity", in which it warns that ecosystems are at a critical point, with catastrophic consequences for the economy. The report invites a rethinking of the relationship that human beings have established with nature and how it is valued.