Every year, individuals, groups and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to the protection and restoration of the environment are recognized in four categories:
- Policy leadership
- Inspiration and action
- Entrepreneurial vision
- Science and innovation
Every year, Champions are selected from hundreds of nominees globally, submitted during a public nominating process. Once submitted, a team of UN Environment Programme (UNEP) staff researches and prepares detailed profiles of each candidate, their achievements and qualifications. The profiles are reviewed by a broader group of UNEP experts before submission to a jury who select the laureates. In 2019, the jury consisted of five leaders of United Nations and other international organizations.
The 2020 nomination opened on 20 January 2020.
January 2020 – Submissions open. The criteria for selection are:
- Impact – Have the nominee’s actions resulted in profound environmental gains or demonstrated significant potential for replication and scaling?
- Novelty – Has the nominee done or achieved something new and innovative?
- Power of the story – How compelling and inspiring is the nominee’s story?
March 2020 – Deadline for submissions. All nominations must be received by 20 March 2020, accompanied by appropriate supporting materials.
March 2020 – UNEP review. Winners are shortlisted, and a team of UNEP staff reviews the list of nominees and prepares a shortlist to be submitted before a global jury.
May 2020 – Award laureates are chosen. A global jury consisting of high-profile individuals from different United Nations agencies and international organizations reviews the shortlist of nominations and selects their winning choice in each award category. Their decision is final.
October 2020 – Laureates are announced. Winners are disclosed publicly during a gala ceremony recognizing their achievement. The awards will be presented to this year’s laureates at a ceremony later this year.