Photo: Equator Prize Winner Tulele Peisa

“We may not be contributing significantly to climate change but it's impacting us the most, so we've got to do something" – Climate Trailblazers

New York, September 12 — UNDP is proud to announce that two Equator Prize winner representatives are among the 22 Climate Trailblazers nominated by the Global Climate Action Summit organizers, which takes place in San Francisco from September 12-14.

The Global Climate Action Summit will bring leaders and people together from around the world to “Take Ambition to the Next Level.” The organizers released the names of a network of 22 Climate Trailblazers, who represent both emerging and established voices on climate change action, activism and ambition.

“Over a period of the last ten years, we’ve seen an increase in temperature, an increase in rainstorms and winds, an increase in weather conditions that have impacted our communities and their livelihood,” says Celia Mahung who represents the Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE), recognized as a Climate Trailblazer for the upcoming Global Climate Action Summit. “We’ve also seen erosion, a lot of erosion.”

To address climate change, TIDE has kick-started a series of adaptation, mitigation, and environmental education efforts. "Because we're a small country, we may not necessarily be contributing significantly to climate change. However, it's impacting us the most. So we've got to do something."

Ursula Rakova is also being recognized as a Climate Trailblazer. She is a Papua New Guinean climate activist and Executive Director of Tulele Peisa who grew up on the remote Carteret Islands, which are becoming uninhabitable due to rising sea levels. She says, “The people of the Carterets are victims of a crisis they have not caused, as they emit the least or nil emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.” 

Tulele Peisa was recognized as an UNDP Equator Prize winner in 2014 for its efforts to relocate Carteret Islanders to islands with higher ground, and in doing so developing rigorous programming that spans social integration, environmental stewardship, and climate adaptation.

“We are extremely excited to see the Equator Prize winners recognized as Climate Trailblazers. They are on the frontlines of feeling the impacts of climate change within their community, but they are also on the frontlines of identifying solutions and taking action, through nature-based solutions,” says Jamison Ervin, Manager of UNDP’s Global Programme on Nature for Development.

The Global Climate Action Summit, happening midway between Paris 2015 and 2020, is timed to provide the confidence to governments to ‘step up’ and trigger this next level of ambition sooner rather than later. It aims to galvanize a global movement for climate action that leaves no one behind.

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Media queries: Sangita Khadka, Communications Specialist, UNDP Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, email: Tel: +1 212 906 5043

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