Saturday, June 30, 2012

New project launched to track and protect migration of mammals between Ethiopia and South Sudan

A male kob
Credit: Ludwig Siege

The Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority (EWCA) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), have launched the ‘Ecological Networks in Africa’ project, which aims to shed light on one of the largest known migration corridors worldwide.
It is also aimed at investigating the spectacular mammal migration corridor between Ethiopia and the new independent state, South Sudan.
Speaking at the launch Thursday, June 28, 2012, Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Acting Executive Secretary of the CMS which at present has 116 countries as parties, welcomed the project saying: “Migration is all about connectivity, not only of animals between countries, but also people between countries. It is my hope that this milestone project will bring both animals and people closer together.”
It is estimated that currently one million white-eared kobs, elephants and other large mammals migrate in the transboundary region between Gambella and Boma of Ethiopia and  South Sudan respectively, making this mass movements of animals one of Africa’s largest and most spectacular.
As part of the new project, which is funded by the Norwegian Government through its Ministry of Environment, two White-eared kobs have just been fitted with satellite collars to track their migration, with more animals expected to be collared in the coming year.
UNEP says data from satellite collars and ground surveys will help identify patterns of movement and critical sites for this species, while such data will also be used to elaborate the Management Plan of Gambella National Park, which covers much of the Ethiopian part of the unique large mammal corridor.
For its part, EWCA has already redesigned the boundaries of the National Park to encompass the migration and new zoning areas, suited to the kob’s home range and movements, will be established to grant protection in space and time. 
In parallel, the project will contribute to maintain the ecological value and socio-economic importance of mass animal migrations in the area and will involve the training of law enforcement personnel.
Further, in view of intensive agricultural development in the Gambella Region, the CMS project will help to gather very valuable information to ensure that the significant ecological services of the area will be preserved, UNEP, which believes that safeguarding ecological networks opens the door for the creation of a transboundary protected area.
To make sure the project is successful, UNEP says local communities will be sensitised for the unique migration corridor in the region and the immense value of an intact and highly dynamic ecosystem. 
Local communities also stand to gain economically from the project. According to UNEP, “They are expected to benefit through sustainable use and ecotourism. The potential for tourism, especially surrounding the spectacular kob migration, is considered to be significant. The potential economic benefits associated with wildlife watching within the migration corridor provide an important argument for the area’s protection. Generating alternative livelihoods is an important means of contributing to poverty alleviation in the future.
Meanwhile it is envisaged the effort of UNEP/CMS will ensure sustainability of the endeavours of the Omo Gambella Conservation Initiative Taskforce (OGCITF), which has been working since 2009 in establishing an integrated conservation system in the Gambella Region.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Global Water Partnership advocates for increased funding from West African governments

Mr. Hama Arba Diallo

Chairman for Global Water Partnership, West Africa (GWP-WA),  Mr. Hama Arba Diallo, has asked governments of the 13 member states in West Africa, to increase their national financial resources for the management of water resources.
Making the request during the opening session of the 4th Assembly of Partners of the Global Water Partnership, West Africa (GWP-WA) on Friday June 22, 2012 in the Burkina Faso capital of Ouagadougou, the GWP-WA chair said an increase in budgetary allocations towards managing water resources in the sub-region, will demonstrate the political commitment of the various governments.
"Convince the respective governments to make concrete [their] political commitment by the increase in national financial resources budgeted by each country for management of water resources,” he told the Deputy Minister of Agriculture of Burkina Faso, who presided over the ceremony to urge colleague ECOWAS ministers.
Mr. Hama Arba Diallo said that the challenge of the West African region in terms of water issue boils down to the implementation of the regional water policy developed by ECOWAS, whose objective is to enable the region to achieve water security.
"GWP West Africa is firmly in that logic and acts besides governments of the region so that the countries with all the environmental challenges and harsh climate can resolve the multiple problems of access to water and the sanitation and thus achieve the goals of meeting the needs of populations'"he said, adding that he recognises the efforts made by governments in the region, even if "challenges remain particularly in the context of climate change which undermine all efforts and jeopardise the availability of water resources in the sub-region."
Speaking of the work done by Country Water Partnerships (CWP) in the 13 ECOWAS countries, which makes it one of the most extensive of the whole network of GWP, Mr. Diallo expressed the belief that these platforms are available to national authorities of each country to assist in the sustainable management of water resources.
"If the high number may be a source of strength it can also be our weakness if we do not take advantage of all opportunities available to us in the country to make the organs work better and make our actions visible and sustainable,” he stresed.Mr. Diallo therefore advised the Country Water Partnerships to work with national authorities in charge of the management of water resources, "to improve the lives of people who are the ultimate target of all actions."
The 4th Meeting of Partners of GWP-WA coincided with the 10th anniversary of the official launching of the regional organisation established in March 2002 at the constitutive assembly in Bamako, Mali.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Europe saves €750m and 630,000 tonnes in carbon emissions through carpooling – UNEP


According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Europeans who carpooled from 2008 to 2011, were able to save over 630,000 tonnes in carbon emissions and 324 million litres of gas, which translated to $945 million (€750 million).

Disclosing that the cost of traffic congestion, pollution and accidents in the EU alone well exceeds $630 billion (€500 billion) each year, UNEP also projects that if current trends continue, global vehicle traffic will increase by 60 percent between 2005 and 2025.

The UN agency also divulged that in 2009, railways alone produced 1.8 percent of total CO2 emissions from the transport sector, corresponding to 0.6 percent of total CO2 emissions among the 27 member states of the European Union (EU27).

These disclosures were made yesterday by UNEP, when it launched a new campaign aimed at promoting sustainable transport choices among commuters, at the Rio+20 conference currently ongoing in Brazil.

The campaign – Let’s Travel Together, was launched in collaboration with over 20 train, metro, bus, and carpooling companies across Europe, to show that sustainable transport is a first-class entry point to greener economies.

According to UNEP, Let’s Travel Together is also expected to encourage travellers to share their cars with friends, use public transport and take other actions to reduce carbon emissions from vehicles among others.

Announcing the campaign launch through a press release issued simultaneously in Geneva, Switzerland and Nairobi, Kenya, UNEP said, “Moving towards greener societies isn’t just environmentally friendly, but also economically and socially sound. If we double the market share of public transport, the urban transport energy consumption would only increase marginally, saving around 170 million tonnes oil equivalent and avoiding the emission of around 550 million tonnes CO2 equivalent in 2025, compared to the business as usual scenario.”

Giving more details on the campaign, UNEP said Facebook users can back the campaign and signal their support for sustainable transport by selecting an animal avatar and boarding the ‘Green Vehicle’, together with other social media users, at

“The campaign is designed with social media in mind: Let’s Travel Together’s centre piece is a web application where your Facebook avatar will appear on a green, futuristic vehicle together with everyone who has pledged to take sustainable transport. Participants will also be able to embark the animal of their choice on this virtual journey; if they convince their friends to join the adventure, they will enter the campaign competition and may win free tickets!,” UNEP stated further.

The release said as part of UNEP’s GreenUp initiative, Let’s Travel Together will show in a virtual and entertaining way how sustainable transport can support the transition towards a low carbon, resource efficient green economy.

“From today, transport companies and associations will promote Let’s Travel Together on their websites and social media channels, encouraging visitors to get on board, invite friends and enter for a chance to win free travel in Europe,” UNEP said.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Rio+20: Strong policies, public-private partnerships key to transformation of lives


A new report launched last week at Rio de Janeiro emphasises that although a transition to a green economy could lift millions of people out of poverty and transform the livelihoods of many of the world’s 1.3 billion people earning just US$1.25 a day, that can only happen if it is supported by strong policies and public- and private-sector investments.
The report, Building An Inclusive Green Economy For All: Opportunities and Challenges for Overcoming Poverty and Inequality, launched at the Rio+20 summit by the Poverty-Environment Partnership (PEP), a network of bilateral aid agencies, development banks, UN agencies and international NGOs, finds that many developing and least developed countries are already pursuing a transition towards low-carbon, resource efficient economies.
According to the report, scaling-up current examples of the green economy in action – particularly in developing countries - has the potential to deliver a ‘triple bottom line’ of job-creating economic growth, environmental sustainability and social inclusion.
It however maintains that targeted investments and governance reforms are needed to overcome current barriers that are preventing many poor communities from fully benefiting from a green economy.
The new report further finds that many Least Developed Countries (LDCs), as well as many poor regions of middle income countries, are actually richly endowed with the natural resources that would allow them to build green economies that can sustainably reduce poverty but have been handicapped by weak policies.
Commenting on the report’s findings, Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), a PEP member, said, “Many least developed and developing countries and communities are seizing the opportunity to bring economy and ecology together in order to generate transformational social outcomes,” adding,  “The challenge for world leaders meeting here at Rio+20 is to forge and to back the enabling policies, catalytic financing, and social protection packages in order to fast forward these ambitions and to take them to scale.”
For his part, Manish Bapna, Acting President of the Washington D.C. based World Resources Institute, which co-ordinated the study, said “By embracing an inclusive green economy, leaders in Rio have a rare opportunity to improve the lives of millions of people and usher in a new era of sustainability”.
 “Shifting to an inclusive green economy will not happen on its own. It requires smart government policies and strong leadership. This report presents a bold vision for a green economy that can tackle poverty and inequality, and, importantly, it offers concrete and practical building blocks to make this transition,” he added.
Developing countries and green economy:
The report cites many strong examples of developing countries that are already successfully shifting to a green economy, such as Ethiopia’s development of six wind energy projects and a geothermal project, which will increase the country’s capacity by over 1,000 megawatts as well as Mongolia’s first 50 megawatt wind farm currently under construction and set to generate an estimated five percent of the county’s electricity needs, while reducing air pollution linked with coal-fired generation.
Mongolia has the potential to act as a “supergrid” in the region, supplying neighbouring countries with clean energy, the report maintains.
It also mentions that in Uganda, the promotion of organic agriculture is helping tens of thousands of farmers to earn up to 300 percent more from certified pineapple, ginger, vanilla and other exports, citing that globally, the market for organic food products has increased three-fold since 2000.
On the international level, the development of Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD or REDD+) also offers potential for poverty eradication if accompanied by rigorous social safeguards, especially for local and indigenous people.
To buttress this, the report cites that in Indonesia, a US $1 billion REDD+ investment by Norway has led to a one year moratorium on logging in Kalimantan, which has the potential to safeguard 45 percent of the province’s forests, while providing new livelihood and income opportunities for local people.
Furthermore, it states that many low and middle-income countries are rich in resources for ecotourism; a sector that is projected to generate revenues of US $240 billion in 2012, adding that much of this growth is in developing countries as diverse as Botswana, Belize, Brazil, Costa Rica, Gabon, Kenya and Nepal.
The report views that least developed countries with less developed infrastructure, particularly in urban areas, can benefit from an inclusive green economy with the right enabling policies and targeted international investments in areas from energy efficiency and clean technologies to modern public transportation systems.
Such efforts can also serve to boost the creation of decent, green jobs as demonstrated in Lagos, Nigeria, where public-private partnerships to improve the city’s infrastructure, reduce congestion and upgrade slums have helped create around 4,000 environment-related jobs among unemployed youth, the report cites.
Regarding health, it says that though environmental risk factors are the cause of around one-fifth of the total disease burden in developing countries, and a large proportion of childhood deaths, many green economy investments have the potential to deliver significant benefits for human health, such as supporting clean fuels and vehicles will lower greenhouse gas emissions, while also reducing respiratory diseases.
Similarly, investing in cleaner energy for households in developing countries, such as through more efficient cookstoves, can reduce dependency on wood fuel and tackle deforestation, while limiting exposure to indoor air pollution, says the new report.
Private Sector:
Underlining that the private sector, including large multinationals and small- and medium-sized enterprises, along with non-governmental organisations have a key enabling role, too,
The report cites that Unilever is working in West Africa with 10,500 small-scale farmers to promote allanblackia trees, which produce seeds rich in oil for use in spreads under the brand names Flora and Bercel.
Other examples listed are that in Brazil, the cosmetics company Natura has forged partnerships with 26 communities to source new cosmetics, fragrances, and other products under a benefit sharing project that supports the principles of the UNEP-linked Convention on Biological Diversity, while the Indian-based Jain Irrigation System makes drip and sprinkler irrigation systems while providing markets for farmers’ produce.
The report discloses that farmers in parts of India have seen net incomes rise by US $100 to $1,000 a hectare, as a result of adopting such systems, while also reducing water use and environmental impacts.
Benefits of Green Economy:
Meanwhile, according to Johan Kuylenstierna, executive director of the Stockholm Environment Institute, a PEP member and co-author of the report, “There is strong evidence that a transition to a low-carbon, resource-efficient green economy could hugely benefit the poor while helping preserve vital ecosystem services”.
“The challenge at Rio+20 is to make strong international commitments that will ensure the green economy can grow and flourish, with both public- and private-sector support. We also need to adopt policies to protect the vulnerable as their economies make this transition, and to ensure that the benefits of the green economy are fairly and equitably distributed,” he said.
Also sharing his thoughts, Bindu N. Lohani, Vice-President for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development, Asian Development Bank, said “In the Asia-Pacific region, the twin tracks of investing in sustainable inclusive infrastructure and the sustainable management of critical ecosystems to support future economic development can make a huge impact on the welfare of the poor – in both urban and rural settings”.
He thus recommended that “Regional institutions must galvanise efforts by governments to create the right enabling policies and channel financial resources into inclusive green growth - the kind of growth that benefits the developing countries and the poorer members of their populations.”
Call to Rio+20 delegates:
The report calls on delegates meeting for the Rio+20 Summit to consider “five critical building blocks” towards an inclusive green economy which can maximise the benefits for the poor of a green economy, and foster a shared policy agenda between developing country governments, developed country partners and other stakeholders. These are that:
1.      National Economic and Social Policies: Fiscal policies, tax regimes, and ‘green’ social protection policies and programmes can strengthen a pro-poor transition;
2.      Local Rights and Capacities: Ensuring poor people have rights and tenure over their natural resources backed by the means and the incentives to sustainably manage and benefit from them;
3.      Inclusive Green Markets: New business models are needed to build and expand the poor’s access to inclusive markets and supply chains for green products and services, together with access to micro-credit and business development services for small and medium-scale enterprises;
4.      Harmonised International Policies and Support: Higher-income countries need to provide coherent aid, trade and other policies to enable low-income countries to succeed in a green economy transition; and
5.      New Metrics for Measuring Progress: Going beyond the narrowness of GDP to a broader indicator of economic, social and environmental progress and human well-being: this is a key issue on the table at Rio+20.

Global Water Partnership West Africa meets to find solutions to ineffectiveness in sub-region

Ghana's Akosombo Dam on the Volta River

The Global Water Partnership (GWP), West Africa (WA), will hold its statutory General Assembly in the Burkina Faso capital of Ouagadougou on Friday, June 22, a press release from its Secretariat has announced.

The main theme of the Meeting of Partners of GWP/WA, will focus on the role of Country Water Partnerships (CWPs) in the management of water resources at national level and consider how best to strengthen the CWPs to better fulfill their role in the country, says the secretariat.

In addition to the statutory issues to review and validate, the meeting is also billed to focus specifically on the contribution of CWP to the promotion of integrated water resources management (IWRM) in particular, in the development process and implementation of National IWRM Action Plans in the country Burkina Faso, challenges and lessons learned from the operation of CWP, and to give directions.

According to organisers of the general assembly, the meeting has also been informed by the inactivity and ineffectiveness of some of the sub-region’s 13 Country Water Partnerships (CWP).

“These CWPs have been established with the agreement and the contribution of states. In some countries these partnerships are active and contribute significantly to capital gain. But this is not the same everywhere. 

A situation that is jeopardising the effectiveness of the GWP action in the region and to which solutions must be sought,” the communication from the organisers read.

According to the organisers, work of the GWP/WA Assembly of Partners will focus on the relevant actions in which CWPs are involved in several countries on IWRM, which will inform partners, and facilitate an exchange of ideas on the challenges and problems and lessons emanating from IWRM actions by the CWPs.

Before the General Meeting of partners takes off however, some preparatory meetings have been planned, including the meeting of the Finance and Budget Committee set up by the Steering Committee from among its members, a meeting of the Ad 'Hoc committee established for the review of texts scheduled for Wednesday, June 20, 2012, and the meeting of the GWP/WA Steering Committee on Thursday, June 21, 2012.

Global Water Partnership West Africa (GWP/WA) is made up of  member organisations of the Global Water Partnership (GWP) at the regional level and in different countries of West Africa, and is a network of institutions which aims to catalyse public action in the field of water and related sectors for better impact.

The partnership was created in 1996, and worked on the development of regional water partnerships that are 13 in number today around the world. After three (3) years of activity in the region, GWP/West Africa was established in 2002 as a network of partners in West Africa.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Governments, businesses urged to offer more local control of forests


A new book by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and the G3 - a global network whose members manage a quarter of the world’s forests, has urged governments and businesses to give local people more control over forests to maximise social, economic and environmental benefits. 
The book, launched at IIED’s Fair ideas conference in Rio de Janeiro yesterday, 17 June, makes the business case for investing in forest communities by showing that when local people control their forests they are more likely to conserve and use them sustainably.
According to the book, this is evidenced by the millions of hectares already owned by, or designated for use by, local communities and families.
It states that for instance, Södra — a cooperative of 52,000 family forest owners in Sweden formed in 1938, which produces pulp, sawn timber, furniture and biofuels and sells them largely to an international market - has annual revenues of 18 billion Krona (US$2.7 billion).
The new book also cites that in Nepal, community-owned forest makes up around a fifth of all forested land, with 17,685 local community groups managing more than 1.6 million hectares, adding that the Amrithdhara community forest is managed by 814 households, who together earn 3,000,000 Nepalese Rupees (US$36,179) every year. This money, the book says, is re-invested in forest management or used to support local community development projects.
Making a case for community ownership of forests, Ghan Shyam Pandey, coordinator of the Global Alliance of Community Forestry stated that “Community forestry turned Nepal’s forests from barren wastelands into the green and productive areas that they are today”.
For his part, Peter deMarsh, a family forest owner in New Brunswick, Canada, and chair of the International Family Forestry Alliance said “Together, the G3 provides a platform and a united voice for local forest-dependent people across the world who all-too-often are not included in national policy-making or international decisions”.
The G3 or Three Rights Holders’ Group, a global network of family, community and Indigenous foresters, was created in 2009 when the Global Alliance of Community Forestry joined forces with the International Alliance of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples of the Tropical Forest and the International Family Forestry Alliance.
IIED’s new book however laments that despite the proven track record of locally controlled forestry and constant reports of social conflict between local communities and big companies over forests across the world, money continues to flow into the bigger international corporations rather than into support for locally-controlled forestry.
The new book thus urges governments and investors to approach business from a different angle, in order to reap a wider range of benefits and on a long-term basis.
 To this end, Duncan Macqueen, Forest Team leader at IIED stresses, “Instead of being led by resources, investment models for locally controlled forestry must be led by rights, based on right-holders managing forest resources and seeking capital and partnerships,” adding, “We cannot afford to ignore practical and fair solutions such as locally controlled forestry when the stakes are so high and the benefits so clear”.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Mongolian President, Maasai Warrior named among six ‘Champions of the Earth’ awardees

Mongolia’s President Tsakhia Elbegdorj

Mongolia’s President Tsakhia Elbegdorj and Samson Parashina, a Kenyan Maasai conservationist, were on Monday, June 4, 2012, named among six winners of the United Nation’s Champions of the Earth 2012 award, given to those whose actions and leadership have had a positive impact on the environment.
Making up the six awardees were Brazilian banker Fábio C. Barbosa, renewable energy entrepreneur Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, renowned Swiss aeronaut Dr. Bertrand Piccard and Dutch Scientist Dr. Sander van der Leeuw, who were also recognised for their achievements.
Presenting the LG Electronics-sponsored awards at a ceremony in Rio, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said the winners have demonstrated commitment to building a sustainable future for the planet through their work, which encompasses active green policies, groundbreaking clean energy developments and community work that has helped conserve critical ecosystems.
"As the world heads to Brazil for Rio+20 later this month these six individuals, deservedly named as Champions, demonstrate that committed, concrete action can have a transformative effect on countries, communities and businesses,” Mr. Steiner added.
He stated further, "On the eve of Rio+20, the Champions of Earth 2012 should be an inspiration for world leaders to take the bold decisions needed on behalf of seven billion people.” “In other words, to put in place the pathways that will scale-up and accelerate a Green Economy, while reforming the international institutions charged with realising sustainable development and poverty eradication in order to deliver the Future We Want.”
Specifically, the ceremony attended by UNEP Goodwill Ambassador Gisele Bündchen, Brazil’s Minister of the Environment Izabella Teixeira and Rio+20 Secretary-General Sha Zukang, presented President Tsakhia Elbegdorj of Mongolia with the Policy Leadership Award: for delivering on promises to put the environment at the forefront of policies.
Fábio C. Barbosa (Brazil) and Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber (UAE) also jointly received the Entrepreneurial Vision Award: for their business efforts in sustainability and promoting renewable energy and clean technology respectively.
For his part, Dr. Bertrand Piccard of Switzerland’s award was for Inspiration and Action:  for raising global awareness of the possibilities of renewable energy-driven transport, while the Science and Innovation Award went to Dr. Sander Van der Leeuw (Netherlands), for his research, which applies lessons learned from history to understand why humanity is not facing up to the long-term issue of environmental change.
Samson Parashina of Kenya’s Special Category – Grassroots Initiatives Award on the other hand, was for leading community efforts to conserve Kenya’s Tsavo-Amboseli ecosystem.
Mr. Parashina, whose Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust (MWCT) takes a grassroots approach to conservation in Kenya, said the award “energised” him to push on with his work.
A citation accompanying the award said “At a time where poaching of elephants and rhino is on the rise in Kenya, leading to deadly gun battles with wildlife rangers, Mr. Parashina’s organisation is using a community-led approach to prevent poaching through education and patrols. Mr. Parashina is also head guide at Campi ya Kanzi, started in 1996 by his long-term collaborators Luca Belpietro and Antonella Bonomi. The hotel was named by CNN as one of ten top luxury eco-hotels around the world.”
The Champions trophy
Mr. Parashina’s nomination was by actor Edward Norton, who serves on the board of MWCT and is the UN’s Goodwill Ambassador for Biodiversity.
Recommending him for the award, Edward Norton said, “He’s one of my heroes and I’m in this role to celebrate people like him.” “The work he has achieved is nothing short of inspirational and a truly authentic example of an indigenous community addressing the sustainability question within the context of deep commitment to traditional cultural values.”
In his response after receiving the award, Mongolian President, H.E. Elbegdorj, who has prioritised green policies and environmental awareness for youth, said his formative years as a herdsman living close to nature helped shape his sustainable outlook.
“This is a great honour, not only for me but for our nation. One day I will give up my Presidency … but I will continue as a Champion of the Earth,” he said.
On his part, Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, the Chief Executive Officer of Masdar, which is developing a pioneering low-carbon city in Abu Dhabi and investing globally in clean energy innovation and deployment, welcomed the award and called on the world to work together to face the challenge of climate change.
“The energy solutions the world needs today cannot be driven by one country alone,” he said. “They will be stimulated by collaboration, and founded on public-private partnerships. As a global community, we have the responsibility to act collectively and address the challenges we face.”
Paying glowing tribute to the first president of UAE, Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber said; “The UAE’s environmental stewardship was instilled by our nation’s founding father and president, the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. He encouraged us to conserve our environment and preserve it for future generations.  Today, safeguarding our environment and economic sustainability are at the core of the UAE’s development plans. It is a great honour for me, Masdar, and the people of the UAE to be recognised for our efforts in fulfilling Sheikh Zayed’s environmental legacy through this award.”
Winner in the Science and Innovation category, Dr. van der Leeuw, who has spent his career studying human-environment relations and invention and innovation in society, applying the lessons learned from history to help understand why humanity is not facing up to the long-term issue of environmental change, said the award made him feel “more confident” about using his research to educate future generations about the need for sustainability.
“Sustainability is all about changing mindsets,” he said. “It is about individuals, groups, and countries beginning to think differently about everything they do in life. We can actually make a huge difference, ” he stressed.
According to a press release from UNEP announcing this year’s winners, the inclusion of Piccard, who with Brian Jones was the first to complete a non-stop balloon flight around the globe, marks the second year in a row that a Swiss who has circumnavigated the globe was included among the winners.
Last year, Louis Palmer who led a fleet of electric vehicles around the world in 80 days and earlier became the first person to circle the earth in a solar-powered vehicle, won the Inspiration and Action award. The release said Piccard, who is 54, aims to become the first person to travel the circumference of the globe in a piloted fixed-wing aircraft using only solar power.
Receiving his award, Dr. Bertrand Piccard said; “Exploration in the 21st century is no longer about conquering new territories, but about developing clean technologies in order to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.”
The Awardees
Champions of the Earth, which was launched in 2005, is the UN's flagship environmental award and has since its inception recognised 51 individuals and organisations for their leadership, vision, inspiration and action on the environment.
The list of previous Champions laureates include former US Vice President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore, Mexican President Felipe Calderon, Chinese actress and environmental advocate Zhou Xun, the Women's Environment & Development Organisation (WEDO) and global music legend Angélique Kidjo.

GJA 2010 Award Winners

GJA 2010 Award Winners
Dzifa, Emelia and Gertrude

GJA 2011 Award Winners

GJA 2011 Award Winners
GWJN's 2011 GJA Award-Winning Team

New WASH-JN Executives

New WASH-JN Executives
They are from left - Edmund, Ghana, Aminata: Guinea, Alain: Benin, Paule: Senegal and Ousman: Niger

Celebrating Award

Celebrating Award
The benefits of Award Winning!

Hard Work Pays!

Hard Work Pays!
In a pose with my plaque