Two young people will be celebrated as winners of the UN Global Climate Action Awards during the UN Climate Change Conference COP28 in Dubai later this week.
Michelle Zárate Palomec of Mexico and Sebastian Mwaura of Kenya were selected from hundreds of applicants from 120 countries for their outstanding efforts to make their communities more sustainable, resilient and equitable places to live.
Zárate Palomec, age 27, leads efforts within an organization called Espacio de Encuentro de las Culturas Originarias to provide access to clean and sufficient water for highly marginalized indigenous communities in the state of Oaxaca, where water resources are scarce and water pollution accentuates social and gender inequalities.
“The communities involved in the project benefit from affordable and innovative ecotechnologies for water sanitation, micro-watershed recovery and the ability to adapt to the main hydro-meteorological events to which they are vulnerable,” said Palomec, who won under the Award’s “resilient nature” category.
Mwaura, age 35, is the co-founder of Yna Kenya, whose primary objective is to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles by providing a robust charging network that is powered by renewable energy sources. He also started the HerGo programme to bring women into the e-mobility transport sector, aiming at creating 12,000 jobs for women as drivers and charging-station owners.
“This initiative was born from our commitment to mitigating climate change by promoting renewable energy in the transportation sector,” said Kabui, who won under the Award’s “energy transition” category. “The widespread adoption of electric vehicles and the availability of a robust charging network play a pivotal role in achieving a sustainable and carbon-neutral future.”
The two award winners will be celebrated at an award ceremony on Friday 8 December 2023 in the Global Climate Action area, Arena 1 (Al Hur), starting at 18:00 (GMT+4). Award-winning journalist and climate advocate Sophia Li will serve as the event’s Master of Ceremonies.
Singer-songwriter, organizer of the Battery Tour renewable-energy powered concert series, and one of the UN Secretary-General’s ‘Young Leaders for the SDGs’ AY Young will perform, as well as Erick Marques, multimedia artist and DJ from the Terena ethnic group of Brazil. Simon Stiell, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, is expected to speak at the COP28 Award Ceremony.
The Awards have been spearheaded by UN Climate Change since 2011. The 2023 edition of the Awards are implemented in partnership with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and the Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates to IRENA.