The European commissioner for environment, Janez Potočnik, is to be given a Champion of the Earth award from the United Nations.
Potočnik, who took office in 2010, has previously called for EU member states to implement policies that would see a reduction in consumption and production, and support sustainability in the agricultural sector.
He will receive the award for his commitment on policy leadership, working towards improving efficiency across the energy and food sectors by boosting resource efficiency.
Speaking on the announcement of the award, Potočnik said,”It is an honour to receive this award and I wish to express tothe United Nations Environment Programme my deep appreciation for its work on sustainable development.
“Unless we change the way we produce and consume we will face a crisis in our natural resources. It is crucial that we make the necessary changes now rather than when we hit environmental tipping points.”
His work has been predominantly based around avoiding resource shortages, calling for greater competition within Europe.
UN under-secretary-general and UNEP executive director Achim Steiner said, ”Despite the challenges posed by the financial crisis and the economic downturn Mr Potočnik played a key role in maintaining Europe’s focus on the future as an advocate for a more sustainable and resource efficient economy.
He added, “Science, innovation and persistence have been leitmotifs of his tenure as Commissioner for the Environment.”
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