UN Top Environment Award Announces 2014 Laureates


Launched in 2005, Champions of the Earth recognizes outstanding visionaries and leaders in the fields of policy, science, entrepreneurship, and civil society action

Nairobi/Washington D.C: The Innovators and policymakers whose service to the environment is saving lives, improving livelihoods and bettering environmental governance and conservation were announced as recipients of the United Nation’s highest environmental accolade, the Champions of the Earth Award.

UNEP logoThe award is the United Nations flagship environmental prize launched in 2005, which recognizes outstanding visionaries and leaders in the fields of policy, science, entrepreneurship, and civil society action.

The winners of UNEP’s 2014 Champions of the Earth Award are:


H.E. Tommy Remengesau, Jr. President of Palaufor strengthening the economic and environmental resilience of Palau by spearheading national policies to protect biodiversity.

Sixth President of Indonesia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyonofor becoming the first president from a major developing country to voluntarily pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


U.S. Green Building Councilfor changing the way buildings and communities are designed, built and operated.


Sir Robert Watson, Eminent Environmental Scientistfor promoting the science behind ozone depletion, global warming and the impacts of biodiversity loss.


Boyan Slat, Founder of The Ocean Clean-up Initiativefor charting new territory in his quest for a solution to the worsening and global problem of plastic debris in our oceans.

Fatima Jibrell, Founder of Adeso (formerly Horn Relief)for building environmental and social resilience amidst war and devastation.


Sylvia Earle, Ocean Explorer and Conservationistfor developing global “hope spots” to safeguard the living systems underpinning global processes that maintain biodiversity.

Mario Molina, Nobel Laureate and Renowned Ozone Scientistfor spearheading one of the most significant climate-related global agreements ever made.

Winners will be honoured by UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki-moon and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner at an awards ceremony attended by UNEP Goodwill Ambassador Gisele Bundchen at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. on 19 November 2014.

“The marine litter problem is global in scale and intergenerational in impact, exacting tremendous ecological, economic, and social costs around the world. According to UNEP research conservative estimates of the overall financial damage of plastics to marine ecosystems now stand at US$13 billion each year.”-Boyan Slat, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner on the 2014 Laureates

“Boyan Slat is inspiring people, organizations and governments to find solutions to the escalating threat of plastic debris in our oceans, while also serving as a reminder to us all that more work needs to be done to improve the capacity of all countries to better manage solid waste and to make production and consumption patterns far more sustainable so that we produce less waste, and put less pressure on our increasingly degraded ocean.”-Boyan Slat, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner on the 2014 Laureates

“Palau is an inspiring example of a small island nation courageously addressing the global challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss through a blue-green economy transition, and reflects the level of commitment many Small Island Developing States demonstrated earlier this year to advancing national sustainable development goals at the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States through the S.A.M.O.A Pathway Outcome Document.”-H.E. President Remengesau of Palau

“Supporting President Remengesau – and other leaders of other small island nations – on this journey of transition, provides an unprecedented opportunity to be part of game-changing solutions that can be applied in broader contexts and bigger economies.”-H.E. President Remengesau of Palau

“In short, we should look upon small island nations like Palau as microcosms of our larger society, and not stand back and leave them to grapple with threats – such as climate change.”-H.E. President Remengesau of Palau:

 “Without these scientific breakthroughs, we would not be on track to a recovered ozone layer by the middle of this century, as recent estimates suggest. The story of ozone recovery is a story of the unprecedented and determined collaboration of nations to overcome a serious environmental threat to the planet and millions of people.”-Mario Molina

“It is a story that can serve to motivate closer collaboration between scientists and policymakers as we prepare to reach a universal and binding climate change agreement in 2015 in Paris.”-Mario Molina

 “As President, Mr. Yudhoyono’s tireless efforts to promote the sustainable management of Indonesia’s increasingly threatened natural resources and his landmark pledge to significantly reduce Indonesia’s carbon emissions sent a message to the world that emerging economies are ready and willing to take bold steps to accelerate their sustainable and inclusive development.”-Sixth President of Indonesia, Mr. Yudhoyono

“This award recognizes not just the pioneering leadership of Mr. Yudhoyono in addressing environmental threats to his country, but the immense and positive impacts green policy shifts can have on livelihoods, the health and well-being of people, biodiversity and industry.”-Sixth President of Indonesia, Mr. Yudhoyono

“Here today we are assured by these environmental leaders of all ages and from all walks of life, that positive change is underway, and that we all have a part to play in it.-Sixth President of Indonesia, Mr. Yudhoyono

“ Sylvia Earle is truly a living legend whose worked has transformed how ecosystems are conserved and protected worldwide. Earle’s special focus is on developing a network of areas on the land and in the ocean – global “hope spots” – to safeguard the living systems underpinning global processes that maintain biodiversity, yield basic life-support services and provide stability and resiliency to ecosystems.”- Sylvia Earle

Winners of UNEP’s 2014 Champions of the Earth Award

Leading African Activist Wins Top UN Environmental Prize for Inspiration and Action: http://unep.org/champions/news/Leading-African-Activist-Wins-Top-UN-Environmental-Prize.asp#sthash.BhFw8tVq.dpbs

Nobel Laureate Mario Molina Honoured by United Nations for Lifetime of Service to the Planet: http://unep.org/champions/news/champions-of-the-earth-2014-mario-molina-announced.asp#sthash.TorTi1GD.dpbs

Dutch Ocean Crusader Awarded Top Global Environmental Prize for Inspiration and Action: http://unep.org/champions/news/champions-of-the-earth-2014-boyan-slat-announced.asp#sthash.Pxy33u2w.dpbs

Eminent British Environmental Scientist Sir Robert Watson Receives Science and Innovation Award:  http://unep.org/champions/news/champions-of-the-earth-2014-boyan-slat-announced.asp#sthash.Pxy33u2w.dpbs

Small Island Developing States Spotlighted in Top Global Environmental Awards: http://unep.org/champions/news/champions-of-the-earth-2014-tommy-remengesau-announced.asp#sthash.Ocw4w8Lw.dpbs

U.S. Green Building Council and ‘Living Legend’ Sylvia Earle Awarded Top Global Environmental Prize for Service to the Environment: http://unep.org/champions/news/champions-of-the-earth-2014-winners-announced-green-council-sylvia-earle.asp#sthash.DxoOELIv.dpbs

Champions of the Earth

Launched in 2005, Champions of the Earth recognizes outstanding visionaries and leaders in the fields of policy, science, entrepreneurship, and civil society action. Whether by helping to improve the management of natural resources, demonstrating new ways to tackle climate change or raising awareness of emerging environmental challenges, Champions of the Earth serves as an inspiration for transformative action across the world.

Past laureates have included Mikhail Gorbachev, Al Gore, Felipe Calderon, Mohamed Nasheed, Marina Silva, Vinod Khosla, and many other such exemplary leaders on the environment and development front.


UNEP, established in 1972, is the voice for the environment within the United Nations system. UNEP acts as a catalyst, advocate, educator and facilitator to promote the wise use and sustainable development of the global environment.

UNEP work encompasses: Assessing global, regional and national environmental conditions and trends; Developing international and national environmental instruments; and Strengthening institutions for the wise management of the environment.

Awards Sponsors

Guangdong Wealth

Guangdong Wealth Environmental Protection is a leading supplier of water purifying products and water treatment integrated solutions in China. The company practices a business model that puts social welfare before economic interests, using the concept “let the sky be bluer and the water clearer”. The company invests in environmental scholarships for young university students, organizes clean-up operations, and donates tonnes of purifying tablets to tackle pollution in rivers in Guangdong and Beijing.

The Smithsonian Institution

Founded in 1846, the Smithsonian Institution is the world’s largest museum and research complex. It consists of 19 museums, a zoological park, nine research facilities, and numerous research programs around the globe in the areas of science, art, history, and culture. Its mission is to preserve America’s diverse heritage, to increase knowledge and to share its resources with the world. The Smithsonian’s work helps to build bridges of mutual respect and understanding of the diversity of American and world cultures.

The UN Foundation

The United Nations Foundation links the UN’s work with others around the world, mobilizing the energy and expertise of business and non-governmental organizations to help the UN tackle issues including climate change, global health, peace and security, women’s empowerment, poverty eradication, energy access, and U.S.-UN relations.

National Geographic

The National Geographic Society has been inspiring people to care about the planet since 1888. It is one of the largest nonprofit scientific and educational institutions in the world. Its interests include geography, archaeology and natural science, and the promotion of environmental and historical conservation.

The Washington Post

The Washington Post is a leading news publisher that sits at the intersection of business and policy. Through its heritage and pedigree, it has been a pioneer at the forefront of objective, credible, award-winning journalism. An audience of influential leaders depends on the insight and analysis of the organization to make critical decisions that impact their business. The Washington Post paves the path for success through technology and engineering by bridging readers from today into the future of journalism. The 137 year old media company is forging new media consumption experiences for our readers across all platforms.

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