2019 Young Champion of the Earth for Africa Adjany Costa is one of 70 individuals and groups recently recognized by President of the Republic of Angola João Lourenço for civil duties.
According to the Angolan Government’s official website, three decoration classes were awarded on 7 November: Order of Independence, Order of Civil Merit, and Medal of Valor and Civic and Social Merit, as part of the country’s Independence Anniversary celebrations.
Winners were described as personalities with outstanding paths as nationalists and Angolans who bravely fought for independence and have contributed towards the construction of the country. Costa was one of thirteen individuals who won the Order of Civil Merit of the First Degree (Gold medal), decorated to individuals with remarkable acts that deserve special recognition from Angolan society.
“I am deeply honored and thrilled to receive this award. Protecting the landscape, and working with communities to make a long-term future in it, is my goal,” Costa said. “My passion is working with communities to own the land they were stripped of.”
“We depend on ecosystems for survival, and more so do poor rural communities,” she added. “We must be mindful about how our way of living impacts our environment and work with the indigenous communities that depend on them.”
Costa was named the 2019 Young Champion of the Earth for Africa for her efforts to conserve precious water and biodiversity hotspots in Angola.
"It's critical that we continue to support young people like Adjany Costa in their work. She is not only fighting biodiversity loss through her work with rural communities in Angola, but also reminding us that we can all take action to improve the health of our environment,” said Joyce Msuya, Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
This year’s Young Champions of the Earth and regional finalists have been widely recognized in the media and continue to blaze a trail towards sustainable development among young people and entrepreneurs.
They include regional finalists Xiangkun (Elvis) Cao, named an Advancing Energy Scholar and invited to attend the recent One Young World Summit in London, and Kenya’s Elizabeth Wathuti who is paving the way towards green development in the country and was recently recognized for her work by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
UNEP’s Young Champions of the Earth is an annual, forward-looking prize designed to breathe life into the ambitions of brilliant young environmentalists. Applications open in January, stay tuned and subscribe to the newsletter for further updates.