The purpose of the Green Star Awards (GSA) is to recognize outstanding individuals or organisations that have made remarkable efforts to prevent, prepare for, and respond to environmental emergencies – as well as to integrate environment with humanitarian action across the world. It is 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 GSAs are intended to underline the nexus between the environmental impacts of natural disasters, technological accidents and complex emergencies, and their consequences for affected populations and providers of humanitarian assistance.
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.
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 was presented on 2 September 2013 in Geneva, Switzerland, as part of Green Cross International’s 20th anniversary celebrations. The fourth awards ceremony took place on 1 June 2015 in Oslo, Norway. The fifth edition took place on 26 September 2017 in Nairobi, Kenya. The sixth edition will take place in mid-2019.
Green Cross International is a leading environmental organisation that was founded by President Mikhail Gorbachev in 1993. GCI is a non-profit and non-governmental organization working to address the inter-connected global challenges of security, poverty and environmental degradation through a combination of high-level advocacy and local projects. GCI works in over 30 countries and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. For more information about GCI, visit and follow GCI on twitter @GreenCrossInt and Facebook.
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.
The United Nations Environment Programme is the UN system’s leading environmental agency. From Kosovo to Afghanistan, Lebanon, Sudan or China, UNEP has responded to crisis situations in more than 40 countries since 1999. Disaster and Conflict response is one of the organization’s six priority areas of work.