2013 Green Star Awards for Environmental Emergency Heroes

The collaborative initiative between the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Green Cross International (GCI), and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) confers the Green Star Awards for those who have confronted environmental emergencies.

Significance of the Green Star Awards

As stated in congratulations by the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos “The Green Star Awards recognize people who are on the front lines of preventing, preparing for and responding to environmental emergencies, tackling life threatening pollution and other hazards, and helping people reconstruct their lives after a devastating forest fire or tsunami. We owe a particular debt of gratitude to people who work behind the scenes to prevent emergencies, and to help people prepare for their impact.”

The Numbers

Recorded disasters for 2011 and 2012 alone exceeded 600 which affected more than 300 million people and $500 million (US Dollars) in damages. With those staggering numbers, 30 nominations were received for the 2013 Green Star Awards for six recipients.


Among the recipients, the Kenya Red Cross Society was awarded a Green Star Award for preparedness in recognition “for its efforts in disaster risk reduction, especially in the context of the September 2011 industrial accident, fuel spill and fire at the Mukuru Sinai informal settlements in Nairobi.”


A Green Star Award for response recognized the New York City Hurricane Sandy Debris Removal Task Force “for their outstanding response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. The Task Force comprised over 25 City, State and Federal agencies and focused on reusing and recycling much of the 2 million cubic yards of debris left behind by Hurricane Sandy in New York City.”

Another Green Star Award for response individually recognized the “Mayor of Japan's Katsurao Village, Mr Masahide Matsumo, who showed exemplary leadership and preparedness on 14 March 2011 to evacuate 1,600 residents to safety the day before the second and third reactor explosions at the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant, which, subsequently, covered his town in a thick radioactive cloud of dust.”

Never-ending Supply of Heroes

Given the devastating disasters of the past decades and the incredible efforts and results of world-wide cooperation and planning, the nominations for the Green Star Awards will surely grow along with the respect and gratitude of the communities these entities and individuals serve.