UN Environment Young Champions of the Earth Competition 2020

Application Deadline:20 March 2020

Nominations for the 2020 Champions of the Earth award, the UN’s highest environmental honour, opened today, aiming to recognize the contribution of outstanding leaders from government, civil society and the private sector whose actions have had a positive impact on the environment. The nominations will remain open until 20th March 2020.

Established in 2005, the award celebrates visionaries in four categories: Policy leadership; Inspiration and action; Entrepreneurial vision, and Science and innovation.

Every year, Champions are selected from hundreds of nominees globally, submitted through a public nomination process; the list of nominees is ultimately submitted to a jury – made up of a wide range of environmental experts – which then selects the laureates.

Since its launch, UNEP has presented the Champions of the Earth award to 93 laureates, ranging from world leaders to environmental defenders and technology inventors. They include 22 world leaders, 57 individuals and 14 groups or organizations.

Every year, individuals, groups and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to the protection and restoration of the environment are recognized in four categories:

  • Policy leadership
  • Inspiration and action
  • Entrepreneurial vision
  • Science and innovation

selection process

Every year, Champions are selected from hundreds of nominees globally, submitted during a public nominating process. Once submitted, a team of UN Environment Programme (UNEP) staff research and prepare detailed profiles of each candidate, their achievements and qualifications.

The profiles are reviewed by a broader group of UNEP experts before submission to a jury who select the laureates. In 2019, the jury consisted of five leaders of United Nations and other international organizations.



January 2020 – Submissions open. The criteria for selection are:

  • Impact – Have the nominee’s actions resulted in profound environmental gains or demonstrated significant potential for replication and scaling?
  • Novelty – Has the nominee done or achieved something new and innovative?
  • Power of the story – How compelling and inspiring is the nominee’s story?

March 2020 – Deadline for submissions. All nominations must be received by 20 March 2020, accompanied by appropriate supporting materials.

March 2020 – UN Environment Programme review. Winners are shortlisted and a team of UN Environment Programme staff reviews the list of nominees and prepares a shortlist to be submitted before a global jury.

May 2020 – Award laureates are chosen. A global jury comprised of high-profile individuals from different United Nations agencies and international organizations reviews the shortlist of nominations and selects their winning choice in each award category. Their decision is final.

October 2020 – Laureates are announcedWinners are disclosed publicly during a gala ceremony recognizing their achievement. The awards will be presented to this year’s laureates at a ceremony later this year.

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