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UNEP announces all-female winners of 2021 Champions of Earth award

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) on Tuesday, December 7, 2021, announced all-female winners of the 2021 Champions of the Earth Award for their contributions to advancing the green agenda.

Mottley and Kalema-Zikusoka
Mia Mottley (right) and Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka

The winners of the prestigious environment award include the Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, and Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, a Ugandan scientist.

“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,’’ said Inger Andersen, UNEP’s executive director in a statement issued in Nairobi.

Andersen reiterated that harnessing female-led innovations will be key to restoring planetary health amid the triple crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution.

According to Andersen, this year’s winners of the Champions of the Earth Award demonstrates that narrowing the gender gap is crucial to the realisation of a climate-resilient and sustainable future.

The winners of the award were recognised for galvanising action at the local, regional, and global levels to promote the health of ecosystems amid climatic and human-induced threats.

The four categories acknowledged in the award include Inspiration and Action; Policy Leadership; Entrepreneur Vision; as well as Science and Innovation.

Mia was honored in line with her contributions to furthering activities in the Policy Leadership category.

Honored in the Science and Innovation category is Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, a veterinarian at Uganda’s Wildlife Authority and an expert on primates and zoonotic diseases.

The sea women of Melanesia and Maria Kolesnikova also won the award in the same category.

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