Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday received the 'UNEP Champions of the Earth for 2018' award, United Nations' highest environmental honour, from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres here.
The PM, who received the award from Mr Guterres and head of the UN Environment programme Erik Solheim during a special ceremony at the Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra here, called it an award for commitment of 125 crore people of the country for environmental protection.
''This is an award for the commitment of 125 crore people of the country for the cause of environmental protection. Champions of the Earth award is an honour for the tradition of India, which looks at nature as a form of God,'' the PM said. Dedicating the award to the common people of India, Mr Modi said, ''This is an honour for the tribals living in jungles, who value the jungles more than their lives. This is an honour for the great women, for whom reuse and recycle has been part of daily life.''Describing the climate and calamity as being directly related to culture, the Prime Minister, speaking at the event, where External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Environment Minister Harshvardhan and Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma were present, said ''If climate is not the focus of culture, calamity cannot be prevented. When I say 'Sabka Saath,' I also include nature in it.''Speaking on the occasion, the UN Secretary-General said, ''We are recognising a statesman, who embodies true leadership. In Prime Minister Narendra Modi, we have a leader, who realises the issue of climate change and understands the benefits of climate action. He knows the problems and also works to solve them.''Speaking on the occasion, Mr Solheim said, ''the most important raw materiel is not gold, oil, energy or any mineral. The missing raw materiel is political leadership and Prime Minister Narendra Modi is providing it to India and the world.
Earlier, addressing the gathering, Ms Swaraj said, ''Champions of the Earth Award is a fitting recognition of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership towards making our world a cleaner place. He was firm that the agreement in Paris has to stay and the world must come together.
''As Prime Minister, Mr Modi has taken numerous steps for the protection of the environment,'' she added.
The Prime Minister has been selected in the leadership category for his pioneering work in championing the International Solar Alliance and for his unprecedented pledge to eliminate all single-use plastic in India by 2022.
Mr Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron were jointly awarded the honour for their pioneering work in championing the International Solar Alliance and promoting new areas of cooperation on environmental action. UNI AR RJ 1422
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