The 15th Planetary Health Awards rewarded distinguished personalities who engage in the green cause.
It has long been the main event of Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and it was specially designed to enhance the highest skills at the service of the environmental cause. H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco stated: «I wanted to create these awards to give my full support to the exceptional men and women who are committed to saving our Planet».
Since 2008, the Planetary Health Awards, promoted by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation (PAsF), has been held annually gathering in the Principality prominent personalities in the world of research, science, industry, innovation or personal and collective engagement. On the 25th November 2022, this year's awarding ceremony took place at the exclusive Salle Garnier of Monte-Carlo Opera House designed by the famous French architect.
"It is more necessary than ever that we make the voice of those who want to protect our Planet", H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco, President of the PA2F.
Access to Fresh Water, Climate and Biodiversity were the three common themes running through the soirée. « At a time when our Planet is once again experiencing open conflicts that tend to put environmental issues on the back burner, it is more necessary than ever that we make the voice of those who want to protect it », pointed out the Sovereign Prince, as the President of His Foundation. Three awards were given on stage by Prince Albert II of Monaco depending on the field of specialisation.
"We are not on track to reach the 'Zero Hunger' target by 2030 set within the UN Sustainable Development Goals - SDG . The task is even harder because of climate change, the real challenge of our time", Dr. Agnes Kalibata.
Dr. Agnes Kalibata, former Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources of Rwanda and President of AGRA, highlighted: « We are not on track to reach the 'Zero Hunger' target by 2030 set within the UN Sustainable Development Goals - SDG . The task is even harder because of climate change, the real challenge of our time. Agriculture is a major contributor to the climate problem. It currently generates 19-29% of total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. If no action is taken, this percentage could increase significantly ».
« I am honoured to receive this award today. However, it is not just for me. This award highlights the need to continue our efforts to support small-scale African farmers seeking to increase their production for greater food security and income, while choosing to use modern environmentally friendly technologies and practices ». Dr Kalibata has been committed to ensure food security and prosperity in Africa through inclusive and sustainable development projects for the benefit of millions of smallholder farmers.
"I am convinced that we are all aware that the polar regions are changing at an accelerated pace (...) As the ice caps melt, sea levels rise across the globe, affecting billions of people who live near the coasts, affecting cities and business supply chains", Professor Dane Jane Francis.
Professor Dame Jane Francis, geologist by training and Director of the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, a research centre of the Natural Environment Research Council (UKRI-NERC), stressed: « It is a great honour to receive this award and I do so on behalf of all the excellent scientists who work with me and many colleagues around the world who are dedicated to understanding the changes that are occurring in the polar regions. I am convinced that we are all aware that the polar regions are changing at an accelerated pace (...) What is happening in these regions affects us all, even as we sit here today. As the ice caps melt, sea levels rise across the globe, affecting billions of people who live near the coasts, affecting cities and business supply chains ». Professor Francis is involved in prior international polar organisations, such as the Antarctic Treaty and the European Polar Council, while serving on several advisory boards of national polar programs.
"We need to pay more attention to neutral marine resources that provide valuable ecosystem services, such as biodiversity, carbon sequestration, breeding grounds, etc.", Dr. Ido Sella.
Dr. Ido Sella, Managing Director and Co-Founder of ECOncrete Tech, an interdisciplinary scientific company that includes biologists, environmentalists, environmental engineers, designers and concrete technology specialists, underlined: « While the majority of the human population resides along the coasts, the increased need of building coastal shields is due to the increase in the number of storms and the forecast of sea-level rise. We need to pay more attention to neutral marine resources that provide valuable ecosystem services, such as biodiversity, carbon sequestration, breeding grounds, etc. (..) Today we are more committed than ever to change the appearance and operation of future seafronts and to make marine life flourish where it could not. We therefore work with cities, governments, industries and communities to this quest ». ECOncrete aims at transforming the appearance and functioning of 'made in concrete' coastal devices in order to push marine life to flourish again, both on the sea surface and underwater.
The projection of a short documentary entitled: “The Church Forests of Ethiopia” followed the awarding ceremony. The film production by Waterbear, the first interactive streaming platform dedicated to the future of our planet, put in evidence the Ethiopian forested areas known as Churches Forest, a pearl of biodiversity on the edge of the desert. This choice is directly linked to the new action «Forests & Communities Initiative (FCI)» launched in 2022 by the Prince Albert II Foundation of Monaco, in joint partnership with IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law, the International Ranger Federation and the Global Forest Coalition, with the aim of actively and sustainably protecting forests and their biodiversity through the commitment of indigenous peoples and local communities.
The final part was marked by a panel discussion with all award-winning personalities animated by Ellen Windemuth, founder of Waterbear. The discussion provided an opportunity for participants to share their views and expertise on major environmental challenges. The 15th Planetary Health Awards hit the mark one again to give voice to those who consider environmental protection as a priority action and professional responsibility. ***
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