Narendra Modi, Emmanuel Macron Selected For UN's Highest Environmental Award

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron are selected for this year's 'Champions of the Earth' award - UN's highest environmental honour.

Both of them are selected in the Policy Leadership category for their pioneering work in championing the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and promoting new areas of levels of cooperation on environmental action, said the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

India and France had together launched the ISA on sidelines of the UN climate conference (COP21) in Paris in 2015. The ISA is an inter-governmental body of solar rich nations whose objective is to galvanise actions for increasing solar power footprints in 121 potential member countries across the globe.

The ISA is headquartered in Gurugram near New Delhi in India. India's Cochin International Airport - the world's first fully solar-powered airport - is also selected for the award. It is selected in the Entrepreneurial Vision category for its leadership in the use of sustainable energy.

The UNEP while announcing the award noted Macron's work on the Global Pact for the Environment and Modi's "unprecedented pledge" to eliminate all single-use plastic in India by 2022. The annual 'Champions of the Earth' prize is awarded to outstanding leaders from government, civil society and the private sector whose actions have had a positive impact on the environment.

Total 84 persons and organisations – ranging from leaders of nations to grassroots activists – in the categories of policy, science, business and civil society have, so far, been honoured with this UN Environmental awards in the past 13 years.

Past recipients of the award include Afroz Shah, who led the world's largest beach cleanup (2016), Rwandan President Paul Kagame (2016), former US Vice-President Al Gore (2007), Ocean Cleanup CEO Boyan Slat (2014), scientist-explorer Bertrand Piccard, and developer of Google Earth Brian McClendon (2013).

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