The biennial Green Star Awards recognize individuals, organizations, governments and companies who have demonstrated achievements in prevention, preparedness and response to environmental emergencies.
Environmental emergencies result from natural (e.g. earthquakes, hurricane, tsunami) or technological disasters (industrial accidents), conflicts, and other emergencies, where there is both severe environmental damage as well as harm to human health and/or livelihoods.
A joint initiative between Green Cross International (GCI), the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the Green Star Awards seeks to increase awareness of environmental emergencies by drawing attention to efforts made to prevent, prepare for and respond to such emergencies.
The idea for the Award was conceived in June 2007 during the 7th Advisory Group on Environmental Emergencies (AGEE) meeting in Rosersberg, Sweden, where meeting participants recommended the establishment of a special recognition scheme. As a result, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the United Nations Environment Programme and Green Cross International were requested to develop a suitable award.
The first Awards ceremony took place on 6-8 May 2009 in Brussels, Belgium and the second on 18 May 2011 in Switzerland. The third edition will be presented on 2 September 2013 in Geneva, Switzerland, as part of Green Cross International's 20th anniversary celebrations.
OCHA is the part of the United Nations Secretariat responsible for bringing together humanitarian actors to ensure a coherent response to emergencies. OCHA also ensures there is a framework within which each actor can contribute to the overall response effort. OCHA's mission is to mobilize and coordinate effective and principled humanitarian action in partnership with national and international actors in order to alleviate human suffering in disasters and emergencies; advocate for the rights of people in need; promote preparedness and prevention; facilitate sustainable solutions.