China Dominates UN Environmental Prize Ceremony

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Added On December 8, 2017

The UN's Environment Programme on Wednesday recognized China's global leadership in environmental protection.

The organization held its annual Champions of the Earth award ceremony in Nairobi, Kenya, where China dominated with three prize-winners.

Chinese bike-sharing startup Mobike, Chairman of Elion Resources Group Wang Wenbiao, and the Saihanba Afforestation Community were among the six environmental leaders to receive the UN's highest environmental honor. 

SOUNDBITE(ENGLISH): IBRAHIM THIAW, UNEP Deputy Executive Director

"It was very inspiring last night at the champions of the earth ceremony to see many leaders but more importantly to see examples coming from China on land restoration. This world needs to deploy immense efforts as agreed in the Bonn challenge in the bio-diversity convention to restore land and the examples we saw from China in the desert, I have myself witnessed that experience in some parts of China where completely degraded lands have been restored where you have bio-diversity, water ecosystem being restored for the good of the people where agriculture production has been increased and where the water table that was low has been restored to more reasonable levels."

The Saihanba Afforestation Community won in the Inspiration and Action category for its efforts to restore degraded land.

Three generations of foresters have been planting trees in Saihanba, a vast land in China's Inner Mongolia, increasing the forest cover from 11.4 to 80 percent.

SOUNDBITE(ENGLISH): ALLAN OTUGI, Film maker 

"I believe Saihanba story is amazing. To be able to grow their forest cover from 12% to 80% is amazing. That really deserved the honors they received during the UNEA conference in Nairobi. I think more initiatives of that kind should be considered especially within Africa because we know desertification is a big problem, and with that kind of example we can see that it's possible to increase forest cover within our continent just as they have done in China, it's amazing and its worth emulating." 

SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH): POKORNY LUKAS, Environmentalist

"The progress recently has been huge and also as the UNEP executive director mentioned on the first day of UNEA. At the recent summit of the Communist Party, the environment took up the majority of the speech of the President so that's something that I think is very good considering the situation in some cities in China, its very important that they have taken steps to prove it." 

The annual Champion of the Earth prizes are awarded to leaders whose actions have had an outstanding impact on the environment. 

Since its founding in 2003, the award ceremony has recognized 84 prize-winners, ranging from country leaders to grassroots activists.