Cycling avenues aim to shift urban infrastructure to sustainable, zero-emission transport.PHOTO/C40 CITIES FINANCE FACILITY.
By PATRICK MAYOYO
The recipients of the 2020 United Nations Global Climate Action Awards have been announced.
In a year that has cast darkness upon many, the 2020 UN Global Climate Action Awards, announced on Tuesday, shone a light on the positive action that many across the globe are taking, to combat climate change.
WhileCOVID-19is the world’s most clear and present danger, climate change is a menace that threatens all future generations, according to the head of the UN climate change convention.
“The last eight months have been a nightmare for many throughout the world”, said UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary, Patricia Espinosa,pointing outthat the pandemic has “altered lives, economies and the nature of business on every continent—from the largest cities to the smallest villages”.
And while it is “the most urgent threat facing humanity today”, she added, “we cannot forget that climate change is the biggest threat facing humanity over the long term.”
The UNFCCC chief attested that the convergence of these two crises has “opened a window of opportunity to build forward – to build cities and communities that are safe, healthy, green and sustainable”.
Ms. Espinosa added. “Nothing exemplifies this better than the efforts of our 2020 award-winning activities to address climate change.”
This year’s award-winning projects demonstrate leadership on climate change by nations, businesses, investors, cities, regions and civil society as a whole. They range from the Caribbean’s only carbon-neutral hotel, to the world’s first platform fully dedicated to green bonds, to the first all-women solar team in Lebanon.
Secretary-General António Guterres. PHOTO/UN
Secretary-General António Guterrescongratulated the winners, saying that they “provide tangible proof that climate action is under way around the world”.
“It is exciting to see these climate solutions, which reinforce my call for decisive leadership on climate change by governments, businesses and cities, and for a green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Let us keep pressing ahead to build a more sustainable and equitable future for all,” he noted.
The announcement of the winners is part of the wider effort to mobilize action and ambition as national governments work toward implementing theParis Climate Change Agreementand theSustainable Development Goals.
It also sets the stage for two upcoming events in the climate change calendar: theRace To Zero Dialoguesfrom 9-19 Nov, which will serve as critical input to theUNFCCC Climate Dialoguesfrom 23 Nov to 4 Dec, which are advancing work governing the rules of the Paris Climate Change Agreement.
The UN Global Climate Action Awards are spearheaded by theMomentum for Changeinitiative atUN Climate Changeand each project presents an innovative solution that both addresses climate change and helps drive progress on other SDGs.
The 2020 winning activities were selected by an internationalAdvisory Panelas part of the UN Climate Change’s Momentum for Change initiative.
“It is crucial we celebrate all actors who are leading the way,” said Gabrielle Ginér, Chair of the Advisory Panel. “The recipients of the UN Global Climate Action Awards send a strong political signal to all nations – and through their leadership and creativity, we see essential change.”
UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary, Patricia Espinosa. PHOTO/UNFCCC
The 2020 winners of the UN Global Climate Action Award are:
Climate Neutral Now:
- Interface| Global: A pioneering flooring-manufacturer that is transforming its business to have zero negative impact on the planet.
- Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort| Aruba: The Caribbean’s first – and only – hotel to achieve carbon neutral certification, and now working to go carbon negative.
- Signify| Global: A major multi-national lighting company that has reduced its carbon footprint by more than 70% and has transformed all of its global markets to carbon neutrality.
- Dallas Fort Worth International Airport| United States of America: The first carbon neutral airport in North America, now implementing a Renewable Natural Gas Initiative.
Financing for Climate Friendly Investment:
- Payments for Environmental Services Program| Costa Rica: A financial mechanism that promotes forest ecosystem conservation – the first of its type in the country and the region.
- The Luxembourg Green Exchange| Luxembourg: The world’s first platform fully dedicated to green bonds, now expanded to include social and sustainability bonds as well as SRI funds.
- Global Himalayan Expedition| India: One of the world’s first organizations using the force of tourism coupled with technology to bring solar energy to remote communities.
- C40 Cities Finance Facility| Global: A facility that enables cities in developing and emerging economies to develop finance-ready projects that address climate change.
Women for Results:
- Elemental Excelerator| Global: The first organization to apply a technology accelerator model to addressing climate change, investing in startups with the potential to decarbonize economies.
- Nature-Based Solutions to Increase Urban Adaptability| Thailand: A landscape architect who is building innovative landscape solutions, making Bangkok more resilient to climate change.
- Health In Harmony| Indonesia, Madagascar, Brazil: An organization that reverses deforestation by meeting the health & economic needs of local communities through women-led innovation.
- Bioplanet Programme| Brazil: A Brazilian company that has found a technological way to reuse residual kitchen fats to produce biodiesel.
- RISE2030| Lebanon: A community-led initiative that launched the first all-women solar team in Lebanon to challenge the gender stereotypes in the male-dominated construction sector.
The 13 award-winning projects fall within three focus areas: Climate Neutral Now,Women for Results, andFinancing for Climate Friendly Investment. All activities will be showcased at a series of special online events in November and December.
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