15 U.N. Climate Action awardees honored at COP24


MANILA, Philippines – Practical, replicable, innovative, and exciting – these were the recurring qualities of 15 climate projects that won this year's United Nations (UN) Climate Action Award, the 2018 Momentum for Change Lighthouse Activities.

Fifteen winners from 14 countries were honored this week in a special ceremony at the 24th Conference of Parties in Katowice, Poland. 

UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa said that "these activities shine a light on scalable climate action around the world."

She added that these projects are proof that climate action isn't only possible, but it can also be innovative and exciting, and can make a real difference. 

This year's winning activities from communities, governments, businesses, and organizations around the world in all levels of society include an app that promotes the fight against food waste, transformative financial investments, women-led solutions to protect people and the planet, and a government that is taking 100% responsibility for its greenhouse gas emissions.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres praised the awardees and called them inspirational leaders "for stepping up to meet the global climate challenge by delivering on the Paris Agreement." He added that "through their leadership and creativity, we see essential change."

Here are this year's winners of the 2018 Momentum for Change Lighthouse Activities in 4 main categories:

This category showcases solutions that balance the need for both human health and a healthy planet. These are new ways of using the planet's resources wisely to protect their health and serve as a model for others.

Germany's Climate-Efficient School Kitchens and Plant-Powered Pupils is providing healthy, climate-friendly meals in German schools. It is led by ProVeg International.

Chile's Santiago Biofactory, initiated the country's largest water utility, Aguas Andinas, and its main shareholder SUEZ, is transforming Santiago's 3 wastewater treatment plants into "biofactories" that convert wastewater and sewer sludge – a wastewater treatment by-product – into clean energy.

Haiti's Composting Waste Treatment: An Ecological Solution to Poverty and Climate Change, initiated by Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods, is building composting toilets in Haiti. This reduces the spread of diseases like cholera and typhoid, creates jobs, and restores local environments.

Seacology's Sri Lanka Mangrove Conservation Project is helping the country become the first nation in history to preserve and replant all of its mangrove forests. Seacology is a nonprofit environmental conservation organization.

According to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, climate neutrality is a 3-step process which requires individuals, companies, and governments to: 

United Kingdom's Forest Green Rovers is bringing eco-thinking and technology to a new and large audience – football fans – as the world's first carbon neutral football club in 2010. Since then, FIFA has described it as "the world's greenest football club."

Australia's Monash's Net Zero Initiative by Monash University, Australia's largest university, has committed to reach net zero emissions by 2030 for all 4 of its Australian campuses.

Norway's Kilimanjaro – Climate Neutral Supply Chain formed by Fjordkraft, the second largest electricity retailer in Norway, is using its purchasing power to inspire all its suppliers to be climate neutral by 2019.

Canada's Carbon Neutral Government Program happened in 2010, when 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, from all 128 of its public sector organizations.

This recognizes activities that demonstrate the critical leadership and participation of women in addressing climate change. 

Syria's "Yalla Let's Bike" Initiative  is about women defying traditional gender roles and combatting overcrowded streets by promoting bicycling as a healthy and sustainable mode of transportation in the war-damaged city of Damascus. 

UK, Sweden, and USA's Food Sharing Revolution! with OLIO, the world's only neighbor-to-neighbor food sharing app, is co-founded and led by women. Two-thirds of the app's users are also women.

India's HelpUsGreen initiative is women creating compost from ceremonial flowers and simultaneously cleaning up the River Ganges.

Haiti's Feminist Electrification by EarthSpark International is ensuring pro-women outcomes by approaching all its energy access projects with a gender lens. The country's lack of access to modern energy services is disproportionally affecting women in rural areas, and EarthSpark International, a women-run enterprise, is meeting this challenge head on.

This showcases climate activities promoting low-carbon growth and highly resilient communities through the use of innovative financing mechanisms. 

FONERWA's Rwanda Green Fund 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.

Brazil's The MAIS Program is helping family agricultural operations adapt to climate change in the Jacuípe Basin, Brazil's semi-arid region.

Global Bank of America's Catalytic Finance Initiative, led by Merrill Lynch, is working with partners to mobilize approximately $9.5 billion for innovative and high-impact climate mitigation and sustainability-focused investments.

The 2018 Lighthouse Activities Award is spearheaded by UN Climate Change to showcase some of the most practical and replicable examples of what people are doing to address climate change.

This year's winning activities were selected by an international advisory panel as part of the Momentum for Change initiative, which is implemented with the support of The Rockefeller Foundation and operates in partnership with the World Economic Forum, donors supporting the implementation of the UNFCCC Gender Action Plan, and Climate Neutral Now. – Rappler.com