By Muia Thomas

While the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) celebrated its 50th anniversary, Kenya’s president unveiled a new environmental award.

Speaking during the UNEP event, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced the creation of the Amani and Mazingira Awards which will be sponsored by the government of Kenya.

The bi-annual award will be presented to individuals and institutions that will be in the forefront in championing for environmental sustainability and peace.

Further, it will be accompanied by a monetary award of USD 20,000 and the first awardee will be announced on the 1st of June of 2022 in celebration of Kenya’s Madaraka (Republic) Day.

President Kenyatta also commended UNEP for its exemplary work in spearheading global environmental issues.

Besides Kenya’s President, other leaders who graced the occasion include Nigeria’s President Muhammad Buhari, Prime Minister of the Central African Republic Felix Moloua, President of Botswana Mokgweetsi Masisi and the Executive Director of UNEP Inger Andersen amongst others.

The Nigerian president Muhammad Buhari also acknowledged UNEPs efforts in overcoming climate change, pollution and waste which have been the biggest crises affecting the planet.

He added that the restoration of strategic ecosystems is important in helping to combat climate change and the achievement of sustainable development. President Buhari further thanked the organization for the role that it has played in mitigating deforestation and accelerating afforestation.

According to Botswana’s president Mokgweetsi Masisi, there is the need to implement laws regarding to the environment and a great funding is needed for the agreement. President Masisi continued to affirm that Botswana abided by the multilateral agreements that it is a party of and that the country stayed committed to it.

Inger Andersen, UNEP Executive Director while addressing the delegates  affirmed that the agency has contributed to saving the world from destruction and harm. In addition to that, she stated that UNEP highly required the support of all nations in order to be able to deliver a stable and rich nature that benefited everyone.

Formed in 1972, UNEP has made several key milestones in environmental conservation including driving campaigns to end use of leaded fuels, halting of the expansion  of world deserts especially in Chile and China, to stop deforestation as well as marine pollution among others.