The Green Star Awards recognize individuals, organizations, governments and companies that have made remarkable progress in addressing environmental emergencies. Credit: Blacksmith Institute
The United Nations (UN) and Green Cross International (GCI) today called for nominations for the 2013 Green Star Awards that are presented every two years in recognition of individuals, organizations, governments and companies that have demonstrated remarkable achievements in addressing environmental emergencies.
Since 1994, UN agencies and their humanitarian partners have responded to more than 120 environmental emergencies in over 70 countries, ranging from earthquakes and tsunamis to forest fires and mudslides. In 2011, over 200 million people were affected and nearly 30,000 were killed by environmental emergencies. The earthquake in Japan and subsequent tsunami alone killed close to 20,000 people.
“Environmental emergencies can have severe humanitarian consequences,” said UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos. “Countries and organizations must be better prepared to respond effectively to them. The Green Star Awards recognize people who have shown leadership and innovation - we hope they will be an inspiration to others.”
All award winners, since the start of the event in 2009, have worked to help raise awareness and build capacity to prevent and response to emergencies.
“The Green Star Awards highlight the link between environmental disasters and humanitarian impacts,” said Alexander Likhotal, President of Green Cross International. “They underscore the importance of humanitarian assistance in such emergencies, as well as preparing communities to prevent or respond to an environmental crisis.”
In 2011, the Awards were presented to three organizations: Blacksmith Institute which supported local efforts to manage heavily polluted sites, Medecins Sans Frontieres-Holland for delivering life-saving medical care in regions affected by crisis and Terragraphics Environmental Engineering for its work on hazardous waste issues.
Three individuals were also honoured: Greek parliamentarian Dionysia-Theodora Avgerinopoulou, American Architect Mary Comerio and Scottish Environmentalist Linda Norgrove. Ms. Norgrove, who worked for the UN Environment Programme and helped develop Afghanistan's first plan of action for climate change adaptation, was killed in the country in 2010.
The deadline for nominations is 15 March and this year’s winners will be announced on 2 September in Geneva. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the founding of Green Cross International by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mikhail Gorbachev.