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

About the award

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 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. 2019 laureate: Costa Rica

  • 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. 2019 laureate: Fridays for Future

  • 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. 2019 laureate: Patagonia

  • 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. 2019 laureate: Katharine Hayhoe

Young Champions of the Earth is a global competition that seeks out entrepreneurs and innovators aged 18–30 with big ideas to secure a sustainable future. All these ideas address urgent environmental issues in bold and creative ways. The prize brings their projects to life by providing seed funding and a year-long mentoring programme. 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.


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

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


During an evening of conversation and insight, through film and speeches, attendees gained 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 was conceived to 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.

Contact UN Environment Programme : Hao Chen

Press release: Global environmental movers and shakers receive UNEP Champions of the Earth Awards

Broll: Video for news coverage

Photos of the award ceremony are available here

Media queries: [email protected]