MeraNews Network, New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi was today conferred with the United Nations highest environmental honor, the UNEP Champions of the Earth award at a special ceremony in New Delhi. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres presented the award to Modi.

The Indian Prime Minister has been selected in the leadership category for his pioneering work in championing the International Solar Alliance and for his unprecedented pledge to eliminate all single-use plastic in India by 2022.  The annual prize is awarded to outstanding leaders from government, civil society and the private sector whose actions have had a positive impact on the environment.

Replying to the felicitations, PM Modi said the award is an honor to the 125 core Indians who are committed to environmental protection. He said it is the honor to tribals, fishermen, and framers of India. He emphasized that caring for the environment is very much a part of Indian culture from ancient times. Stating that climate and calamity are directly related to culture, he said if the climate is not the focus of culture, calamity cannot be prevented. The Prime Minister also said the policy of Sabka Saath also includes the Nature in it. He said the Indian culture has always considered Nature to be alive and the environment as a living entity functioning in a balanced ecosystem.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Prime Minister Modi is a leader who realizes the issue of climate change and understands the benefits of climate action. Modi knows the problems and also works to solve them.  He said a green economy is a good economy and the technology is on the side of those who believe in a green economy.

He said the Prime Minister recognizes that climate change poses a direct existential threat to the world and also knows what needs to do to avoid a catastrophe.  The UN Secretary-General said, other leaders also recognize and understand, but the difference is that  Mr. Modi not only recognizes but acts.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said PM Modi always believed that the country can conserve the environment while moving on the path of development. She said the award is a fitting recognition of his leadership towards making the world a cleaner place. He was firm that the agreement in Paris has to stay and the world must come together.

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