Nairobi: Assam’s wildlife biologist Purnima Devi Barman has won UN’s Champions of the Earth award for her grassroots conservation movement dedicated to protecting the Greater Adjutant Stork from extinction.
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) on Tuesday announced its 2022 Champions of the Earth, honouring a conservationist, an enterprise, an economist, a women’s rights activist, and a wildlife biologist for their transformative action to prevent, halt and reverse ecosystem degradation.
Since its inception in 2005, the annual Champions of the Earth award has been awarded to trailblazers at the forefront of efforts to protect our natural world. It is the UN’s highest environmental honour.
To date, the award has recognized 111 laureates: 26 world leaders, 69 individuals and 16 organizations. This year a record 2,200 nominations from around the world were received.
“Healthy, functional ecosystems are critical to preventing the climate emergency and loss of biodiversity from causing irreversible damage to our planet. This year’s Champions of the Earth give us hope that our relationship with nature can be repaired,” Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP, said.
This year’s Champions demonstrate how reviving ecosystems and supporting nature’s remarkable capacity for regeneration is everyone’s job: governments, the private sector, scientists, communities, NGOs and individuals, Anderson said.
Purnima Devi Barman has honoured in the Entrepreneurial Vision category. She leads the “Hargila Army”, an all-female grassroots conservation movement dedicated to protecting the Greater Adjutant Stork from extinction.
The women create and sell textiles with motifs of the bird, helping to raise awareness about the species while building their own financial independence.