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Young Champions of the Earth Regional Finalists

20 August 2017 | United Nations Environment Programme News Release

The United Nations Environment Programme announced a shortlist of regional finalists for the Young Champions of the Earth prize – a global competition aiming to identify, support and celebrate outstanding individuals between the ages of 18 and 30 with big ideas to protect or restore the environment.

From over 600 applicants, 30 regional finalists—all with emphatic track records of environmental commitment—were selected for having the most innovative, scalable and potentially impactful ideas.

Their proposals range from the deployment of solar-powered irrigation pumps to boost agricultural productivity and foster peace in conflict zones, to the creation of floating eco-villages to help vulnerable communities adapt to rising sea-levels: and from sustainability advocacy through music and radio to the provision of healthcare services in return for recyclable trash.

“The future of our planet depends on our ability to innovate. And when it comes to environmental solutions, we’re only at the beginning of what I’m convinced will be a major economic revolution,” said Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment. “These regional finalists are examples of the passion, drive and creativity that will underpin the coming change. These young innovators need to be empowered so that they can fulfill their potential and shape the future.”

Patrick Thomas, CEO of Covestro—a world-leading materials science company which sponsors the Young Champions of the Earth—remarked, “So much thought has gone into addressing the critical environmental concerns which clearly strike a chord with our regional finalists. I’m confident that many of these wonderful ideas will become reality and go a long way in making the world a brighter place not just for us, but for many generations to come.”

Short biographies of the 30 regional finalists and summaries of their ideas including video pitches are now available on the Young Champions website ( Members of the public are encouraged to view and rate the proposals until 31 August. Informed by public opinion, a global jury will select 6 Young Champions in early September. The winners will be invited to attend the Champions of the Earth Gala Dinner in Nairobi in December 2017 and will each receive USD 15,000 in seed funding, expert mentoring, needs-based training and access to powerful networks.


Young Champions of the Earth website:

About UN Environment

UN Environment is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. UN Environment works with governments, the private sector, the civil society and with other UN entities and international organizations across the world.

About Covestro

With 2016 sales of EUR 11.9 billion, Covestro is among the world’s largest polymer companies. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, electrical and electronics, construction and sports and leisure industries. Covestro, formerly Bayer MaterialScience, has 30 production sites worldwide and employs approximately 15,600 people (calculated as full-time equivalents) at the end of 2016.

Contact info:

Robert Few, Head of News and Media, UN Environment, +254 715 618 081,

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