CCI Patron, Sir Attenborough, named a Champion of the Earth by the UN Environment Programme

21st April 2022

MPhil Conservation leadership students with Sir David Attenborough

We are delighted that our Patron, Sir David Attenborough, has been named a 2021 Champion of the Earth by the UN’s Environment Programme.

The annual Champions of the Earth Award is the UN’s highest environmental honour, recognizing outstanding leaders from government, civil society, and the private sector.

CCI Executive Director, Dr Mike Maunder said of the award “CCI is delighted that the United Nations Environment Programme has named Sir David as “Champion of the Earth”, this great honour reflects Sir David’s extraordinary impact on all our lives. Many of my colleagues in the David Attenborough Building associate their early love for nature to his influence and to this day many of us carry his voice with us as we work to forge a future where nature and society thrives”.

The prestigious award recognises Attenborough’s commitment to telling stories about the natural world and climate change over the last seven decades, as well as his environmental advocacy and support for biodiversity conservation.

“Sir David Attenborough has devoted his life to documenting the love story between humans and nature, and broadcasting it to the world. If we stand a chance of averting climate and biodiversity breakdowns and cleaning up polluted ecosystems, it’s because millions of us fell in love with the planet that he showed us on television,” said Inger Andersen, UNEP Executive Director. “Sir David’s work will continue to inspire people of all ages to care for nature and to become the restoration generation.”

Sir David has been involved with the CCI partnership since its inception in 2007, describing the partnership as ‘an extraordinary marriage between outstanding practical conservationists and inspiring intellectual thinkers which will shape the future of life on Earth.’ We are grateful for his continued support and incredible determination to address the serious issues threatening the future of life on Earth today.

Neville Ash, Director at the UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), a CCI Partner said, “This prestigious award recognises Sir David Attenborough’s lifetime achievements on behalf of the planet and its inhabitants. He continues to be an inspirational educator, communicator and figurehead for the conservation of the natural world. His programmes and trusted voice have introduced the magnificence of the natural world to so many, and, more recently, have sounded the urgent wake-up call the world needs to ensure a nature-positive future.”

Photo: Sir David Attenborough with students from the CCI MPhil in Conservation Leadership