The United Nations Climate Change Secretariat has opened entries for this year’s Momentum for Change Awards that seek to recognise organizations, cities, industries, governments and other key players that are taking the lead in tackling climate change.
The awards are part of wider efforts to mobilize action and ambition as national governments work toward adopting a new universal climate agreement this year.
Winning initiatives called ‘Lighthouse Activities,’ highlight some of the most innovative, scalable and replicable examples of what people are doing to address climate change in the hope of inspiring others to do the same.
“This year is a critical year for the future of our planet,” said Nick Nuttall, UNFCCC Spokesperson and Head of Communications and Outreach.
He added showcasing the great leadership of people around the world taking action on climate change can inspire national governments to be more ambitious in their own policies and actions so that together the world can secure a new universal climate change agreement in Paris later this year.
The 2015 Momentum for Change Lighthouse Activities will recognize climate action that is already achieving real results in four key areas namely action by and for the urban poor, action that fosters women’s leadership, action that unlocks climate finance and action that uses ICT-enabled solutions.
The winning activities will be announced in November 2015 and officially recognized and celebrated during a series of special events in December at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, France.
The Momentum for Change Advisory Panel, made up of senior experts from various fields and countries, will select the 2015 Lighthouse Activities.
The panel is part of the secretariat’s Momentum for Change initiative, which is implemented with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The Rockefeller Foundation, and operates in partnership with the World Economic Forum and the Global e-Sustainability Initiative.
Last year the winners were from Africa and included two projects in several African countries the; Earth Roofs in the Sahel Program (Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal) and Lighten the Energy Bill (Morocco).
The Earth Roofs Program helps address the problem of roofing with a traditional, very low‐carbon building technique known as Nubian Vault. The organization supports the training of local builders in order to create a sustainable and autonomous Nubian Vault market.
The program is inspired by the fact that millions of people in sub‐Saharan Africa lack access to decent and affordable housing while deforestation has led to scarcity of timber and straw for traditional roof construction.
This has forced families to spend what little money they have on imported and expensive timber and sheet metal to put a roof over their heads, further worsening the vicious circle of poverty in which they are trapped.
On its part the Lighten the Energy Bill developed by Belgian‐based EcoNation aims to promote a unique financing mechanism that enables the installation and management of sustainable lighting systems by absorbing the entire upfront investment and sharing the profits with the end user.
Once the lighting system is installed, customers are charged monthly installments that are guaranteed to be lower than their original electric bill.