• Overview

This year’s Champions of the Earth and Young Champions of the Earth award ceremony will be held during the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly Week on 26 September 2019, in New York.

Champions of the Earth

Champions of the Earth is the United Nations’ flagship global environmental award. It was established by the UN Environment Programme in 2005 to celebrate outstanding figures whose actions have had a transformative positive impact on the environment.

Since its launch in 2005, the annual award has recognized 88 laureates, ranging from heads of state to grassroots activists. From world leaders to environmental defenders to technology inventors, these trailblazers are making a difference to protect our planet for the next generation and have inspired critical action on behalf of the environment.

Awards are conferred annually by the UN Environment Programme Executive Director. 

Champions of the EarthGroup photo of the 2018 Young Champions and Champions of the Earth Award Winners with distinguished hosts Dia Mirza, Alec Baldwin and UN Environment's Satya Tripathi. (C) Russ Rowland and Andi Schreiber.

Champions of the Earth recognizes laureates in the following categories:

  • Policy leadership – This category recognizes individuals or organizations in the public sector that have brought about profound, positive change for the environment, within their country or internationally.
  • Inspiration and action – This category recognizes individuals or organizations that have taken bold environmental action, and, in doing so, inspired others to follow in their footsteps.
  • Entrepreneurial vision – This category recognizes individuals or organizations that have challenged the status quo to demonstrate that environmental sustainability is not at odds with the objectives of business and commerce.
  • Science and innovation – This category recognizes individuals or organizations whose groundbreaking work has pushed the boundaries of human knowledge and technology, with profound, positive impact on the environment.

Awards GalaUN Environment hosted the 2018 Champions of the Earth Awards in New York City on September 26, 2018. (C) UN Environment / Russ Rowland and Andi Schreiber

Young Champions of the Earth

Young Champions of the earth is the UN’s highest environmental honour for young people, awarded annually to talented individuals between the ages of 18 and 30 with outstanding ideas to protect or restore the planet. They are changemakers - dynamic, curious, colourful and creative. They are unafraid of failure; they are brave enough to upset the status quo and they believe wholeheartedly in a bright future for our planet.

Launched in 2017 in partnership with Covestro, the initiative seeks to identify, celebrate and support aspiring change-makers whose environmental actions can inspire a global audience. Each year 7 winners —representing every region of the world— receive seed-funding, tailored training and global publicity to help them refine and scale their environmental projects. Unlike its sister award, Champions of the Earth, whose laureates are selected for their past achievements, the Young Champions are selected on the basis of their potential to create future impact through the mentorship, professional training and award money involved in the prize.Seven young champions will receive their awards at the gala dinner.

For more information, visit the Champions of the Earth website and the Young Champions of the Earth website.

Envisioned Programme

6:30 p.m.: Cocktail Reception and media launch

7:30–9:00 p.m.: Gala Dinner and Award Ceremony


Our winning Champions and Young Champions of the Earth’s will be awarded and their bold ideas and innovations to protect the environment will be presented during a gala dinner. During an evening of conversation and insight, through film and speeches, attendees will gain unique insight into the exciting ideas that will drive our response to climate change, the protection of the planet’s natural resources and environmental conservation in the decades to come. The event will raise public awareness of the crucial environment issues of our time and promote the importance of integrating environmental protection into all aspects of sustainable development.

See highlights of the 2018 Champions of the Earth gala award ceremony here.

Champions of the Earth : hao.chen@un.org

Young Champions of the Earth : georgina.avlonitis@un.org