UN Climate Press Release / 27 Sep, 2018
Winners of 2018 UN Climate Action Award Announced

15 Global Climate Action Projects Will be Recognized at the UN Climate Conference (COP24) in Poland

(New York City, 27 September 2018) – The United Nations Climate Change Secretariat announced today the 15 recipients of the 2018 UN ‘Momentum for Change’ climate action award.

“These activities shine a light on scalable climate action around the world,” said Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change. “They are proof that climate action isn’t only possible, it’s innovative, it’s exciting and it makes a difference.”

Activities range from a mobile app that promotes the fight against food waste and hunger worldwide to an entire government that is taking 100% responsibility for its greenhouse gas emissions.

Representatives from the following five winning activities will speak about their solutions to climate change at a special event co-hosted by The Climate Group at Climate Week in New York City this evening:

  • Creating the Greenest Football Club in the World - Forest Green Rovers | United Kingdom: The Forest Green Rovers are bringing eco-thinking, sustainable living, and renewable technology to football fans.
  • Catalytic Finance Initiative | Global: Bank of America Merrill Lynch is working with partners to mobilize approximately USD 10 billion for innovative and high-impact climate mitigation and sustainability-focused investments.
  • Santiago Biofactory | Chile: Water utility company, Aguas Andinas, is transforming Santiago’s three wastewater treatment plants into “biofactories” that convert wastewater and sewer sludge, a wastewater treatment byproduct, into clean energy.
  • Carbon Neutral Government Program | Canada: In 2010, British Columbia became the first government at the provincial, territorial, or state level in North America to take 100% responsibility for its greenhouse gas pollution.
  • Sri Lanka Mangrove Conservation Project | Sri Lanka: Seacology, a nonprofit environmental conservation organization, is helping Sri Lanka become the first nation in history to preserve and replant all of its mangrove forests.

Other winners include:

  • “Yalla Let’s Bike”, a women-powered initiative that aims to end verbal harassment of female cyclists in Syria while simultaneously fighting climate change;
  • Monash, Australia’s largest university which has committed to reaching net zero emissions by 2030, and;
  • Climate-Efficient School Kitchens and Plant-Powered Pupils, Two initiatives which are providing healthy, climate-friendly meals in German schools, initiated by IZT (KEEKS), a non-profit research organization and ProVeg international (Plant Powered Pupils), a nonprofit food awareness organisation.

“Climate action leaders, including those recognized by the Momentum for Change initiative, are stepping up to meet the global climate challenge by delivering on the Paris Agreement,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres. “These inspirational leaders, from communities, governments, businesses and organizations, come from all corners of the globe and all levels of society. Their winning projects range from transformative financial investments to women-led solutions to protect people and the planet. Through their leadership and creativity, we see essential change.”

The Momentum for Change initiative, spearheaded by the UN Climate Change secretariat, shines light on some of the most practical examples of what people across the globe are doing to combat climate change.

Selected initiatives, called ‘Lighthouse Activities,’ demonstrate the unprecedented amount of climate action happening around the world. Today’s announcement is part of a wider effort to mobilize action and ambition as national governments work toward implementing the Paris Climate Change Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals at COP24 in Poland.

The 15 winning activities fall within one of Momentum for Change’s four focus areas: (1) Planetary Health, (2) Climate Neutral Now, (3) Women for Results, and (4) Financing for Climate Friendly Investment. All activities will be showcased at a series of special events during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP24) in Katowice, Poland (2-14 December 2018).

The 2018 Momentum for Change Lighthouse Activities are:

Planetary Health

Climate Neutral Now

  • Creating the Greenest Football Club in the World - Forest Green Rovers | United Kingdom: The Forest Green Rovers is bringing eco-thinking and technology to a new and large audience: football fans. In 2010, the team began its journey to becoming the world’s first carbon neutral football club and has since been described by FIFA, as “the world's greenest football club”.
  • Monash’s Net Zero Initiative | Australia: Monash University, Australia’s largest university, has committed to reach net zero emissions by 2030 for all four of its Australian campuses.
  • Klimanjaro – Climate Neutral Supply Chain | Norway: Fjordkraft, the second largest electricity retailer in Norway, is using its purchasing power to inspire all its suppliers to be climate neutral by 2019.
  • Carbon Neutral Government Program | Canada: In 2010, British Columbia became the first government at the provincial, territorial, or state level in North America to take 100% responsibility for the greenhouse gas pollution from all 128 of its public-sector organizations.

Women for Results

  •  “Yalla Let’s Bike” Initiative | Syria: Women are defying traditional gender roles and combatting overcrowded streets by promoting bicycling as a healthy and sustainable mode of transportation in the war-ridden city of Damascus.
  •  Women Leading a Food Sharing Revolution! | UK, Sweden, USA: Women are leading a food revolution with OLIO, the world's only neighbor-to-neighbor food sharing app. OLIO is co-founded and led by women and two-thirds of the app’s users are women.
  • HelpUsGreen | India: Women are creating compost from ceremonial flowers and simultaneously cleaning up the River Ganges.
  • Feminist Electrification: Ensuring Pro-Women Outcomes in Rural Energy Access | Haiti: Energy poverty, a lack of access to modern energy services, is disproportionally affecting women in rural areas. So, EarthSpark International, a women-run enterprise, is meeting this challenge head on by approaching all its energy access projects with a gender lens, referring to this as “feminist electrification.”

Financing for Climate Friendly Investment

  • Rwanda Green Fund – FONERWA | Rwanda: The Rwanda Green Fund (FONERWA) is investing in public and private projects that drive transformative change. It is one of the first national environment and climate change investment funds in Africa.
  • The MAIS Program | Brazil: The MAIS Program (Modulo Agroclimático Inteligente e Sustentável) is helping family agricultural operations adapt to climate change in the Jacuípe Basin, Brazil’s semi-arid region. It is one of the first ever climate smart agricultural programmes to mainstream climate disruptive technologies among farmers in Brazil.
  • Catalytic Finance Initiative | Global: Bank of America Merrill Lynch is working with partners to mobilize approximately USD 10 billion for innovative and high-impact climate mitigation and sustainability-focused investments.

The 2018 Lighthouse Activities were selected by an international advisory panel as part of the secretariat’s Momentum for Change initiative, which is implemented with the support of  The Rockefeller Foundation, and operates in partnership with the World Economic Forum, Masdar’s Women in Sustainability, Environment and Renewable Energy Forum (WiSER) initiative, and  Climate Neutral Now.

 “This year, we had over 560 applications from all over the world ranging from businesses and governments to communities and organizations,” said Martha Delgado Peralta, Chair of the Momentum for Change Advisory Panel. “This year’s 15 winning activities are truly fine examples of innovative, scalable, and replicable climate action.”

Digital assets:

Photos, fact sheets, and other assets are available for download on this Trello Board.

For more information, please contact:

Sarah Marchildon, UN Climate Change

Team Lead, Momentum for Change

SMarchildon@unfccc.int

Melissa Angel, UN Climate Change

Communications, Momentum for Change

MAngel@unfccc.int | +49 228 815 1602