The Forest Champions’ Panel will feature the past Wangari Maathai Award winners, international, everyday heroes of sustainability. These extraordinary individuals will share their experiences, successes and struggles, results and challenges, and help the audience take inspiration from their stories and examples.
The common feature of the winners is that they are not only managing a precious resource, but also lead their communities, educate members and serve as role models, often achieving great impact with minimal resources. They work with social groups who are often the most disadvantaged or left behind, therefore they represent the spirit of the SDGs and are the living examples of thinking globally and acting locally.
The event aims to be a roundtable or talk-show discussion format, with careful moderation to allow the winners share what they feel is most important in their work and life. They may describe:
• the physical/natural and/or social environment they are working in
• their aims, major results/successes, challenges and setbacks
• whether winning the WMA made any impact on their life and conduct of work
• whether global recognition makes life easier and facilitates action on the ground
• advice and take-home messages for future forest champions and others who want to become active stewards of forests.
Moderator: Ms. Ma Estrella 'Esther' Penunia
• Ms Maria Helena Semedo, Chair of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests, Deputy Director-General, FAO
• Winner of the 2022 award
• Mr. Léonidas Nzigiyimpa, winner 2019 (Burundi)
• Ms. Gertrude Kabusimbi Kenyangi, winner 2015 (Uganda)
• Ms. Maria Margarida Ribeiro da Silva, winner 2017 (Brazil) - via video message
• Ms. Martha Isabel Pati Ruiz Corzo, winner 2014 (Mexico) - via video message
The Wangari Maathai Forest Champions Award honours individuals who have made extraordinary efforts to improve the world’s forests and the lives of the people who depend on them. The Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) launched the first Wangari Maathai Award in 2012 to honour and commemorate the impact of the late Kenyan environmentalist, who championed forest issues across the globe. Maathai was the first African woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace.