The United Nations Environment Programme has announced the 35 regional finalists competing for the Young Champions of the Earth prize. A global jury will select seven winners, one from each region and two from Asia-Pacific. The winners will be announced in December.
The competition aims to identify, support and celebrate outstanding individuals aged between 18 and 30 with big ideas to protect or restore the environment. The top 35 finalists – chosen from a total of 845 applicants across regions – were selected for their fresh approach to tackling the world’s most pressing environmental crises, with groundbreaking, scalable and innovative ideas.
From protecting indigenous Amazonian land through adventure travel, to converting harmful emissions into valuable commodities in the United States, to fishing for plastic in Greece and generating electricity from water in Nigeria, the finalists tackle a broad range of environmental challenges with potential to drive real change.
Building back better
“Despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, the cutting-edge solutions presented by this year’s Young Champions finalists are truly remarkable. It is clear that this pandemic did not shut down the fight for a better world. Instead, it has reminded us of what’s at stake in our battle for the planet, and highlights how building back better will help address the climate crisis and preserve human and planetary health,” said UNEP executive director Inger Andersen.
“Young people all around the world are raising awareness about the wrong choices we have made and the impact of environmental destruction on their future,” she added. “We are committed to providing young changemakers a voice, a platform and the opportunity to make their journey a success, while inspiring millions more around the world.”
The seven regional winners will be selected by a global jury made up of Andersen; the UN secretary-general’s envoy on youth, Jayathma Wickramanayake; UNEP’s supporter for creative economy, Roberta Annan; and CEO of the UN Foundation, Elizabeth Cousens.
Each winner receives $10,000 in seed funding, tailored support and access to powerful networks and mentors. Click here for more information on the regional finalists.