European Environment Commissioner receives top UN award
The European Environment Commissioner, Janez Potočnik, has been awarded the Policy Leadership prize, one of the flagship United Nations 2013 Champions of the Earth awards. The prizes are given to leaders in the fields of policy, science, entrepreneurship and civil society whose actions have had a substantial and positive impact on the environment. Commissioner Potočnik received the award for his commitment to an inclusive Green Economy and furthering resource efficiency. Read more…
The annual Champions of the Earth awards are organised by the United Nations Environment Programme and are the UN’s highest environmental accolade. They are given in four categories – Policy Leadership, Entrepreneurial Vision, Science and Innovation, and Inspiration and Action. The Policy Leadership prize was awarded jointly to Commissioner Potočnik and to Minister Izabella Teixeira from the Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources.
Commissioner Potočnik received the award for his work to reduce food waste, which includes setting targets for the European Union to halve food waste and eliminate the need for landfill by 2020. The upcoming EU Communication on Sustainable Food, part of the Roadmap to a Resource-Efficient Europe, will look at ways to tackle resource inefficiencies across the entire value chain, with the ultimate objective of helping the food system become more resilient and competitive.
Commissioner Potočnik, who took office in 2010, has called on EU Member States to pursue policies and incentives to promote sustainable consumption and production, particularly in the agricultural sector. He has emphasised how rising pressures on water, land, and other resources can trigger a positive move towards more sustainable, low-carbon economies and lifestyles. Accepting his award at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, the Commissioner said: “Unless we change the way we produce and consume, we will face a crisis in our natural resources. It is crucial that we make the necessary changes now rather than when we hit environmental tipping points”.
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