The search for individuals, organizations, governments and private enterprises that have demonstrated leadership in preparing for, responding to, and reducing the environmental impacts of disasters and conflicts has begun with the launching of the 2nd biennial Green Star Awards. Nominations are being received until 30 November 2010 with the awards ceremony taking place in May 2011.
The Green Star Awards, launched in 2008, are a collaborative initiative between Green Cross International (GCI), an international non-governmental organization, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
The Green Star Awards emphasize the connection between environmental risks from disasters and conflicts, crisis-affected populations, and providers of humanitarian assistance. The awards also draw attention to the need to improve international coordination for environmental emergency response.
Last year, prizes were awarded to recipients including Brazil’s Center for Scientific Support in Disasters (CENACID-UFPR) in the Federal University of Paraná (UFPR); Switzerland’s Spiez Laboratory for the protection against nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) threats and hazards; the Government of the Netherlands, which has been a primary force in recent years in improving international preparedness for and response to international environmental emergencies; and the Government of Sweden, notably through the Swedish Rescue Services.
“The link between the environment, and disasters and conflicts, is a key area of UNEP’s work intellectually, scientifically and practically. The Green Star Awards are one way in which we can reward those whose inspiring work is reducing human vulnerability to environmental change, while bringing these important challenges to the attention of a global audience,” said UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.
“An effective response to environmental emergencies will help to reduce risks to local populations,” said Valerie Amos, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. “This will continue to be important given the growing risk due to climate change and the increasing number of vulnerable people.”
Sustainable solutions require that all countries have sufficient capacity to prepare for, and respond to, the environmental impacts of crises when they occur. “We need to continue to ensure that environmental emergencies are considered as an essential part of disaster risk reduction and development,” said GCI President Alexander Likhotal. “Recognizing those who are already doing a great job helps to build even more momentum in this very important area,” he added.
For full details on the nomination process, including access to the nomination form, please visit http://www.unep.org/greenstar.