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Wed, 18 Sep 2019 10:50 - Updated Wed, 18 Sep 2019 10:50

Angolan Biologist wins UN land for life award

Luanda - Angolan biologist and researcher Adjany Costa is one of the winners of the Young Champions of the Earth Award, given by the United Nations (UN) to environmentalists aged between 18 and 30 years.

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Angolan Biologist Adjany Costa wins UN land for life award

Photo: Pedro Parente

In a statement, the UN Environment Program says that the 29-year-old Angolan woman has been distinguished for her efforts in water conservation and biodiversity.

The Brazilian Anna Luísa Beserra is also among the seven awarded.

Young entrepreneurs from Africa, North America, Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia Pacific, Europe and West Asia have been awarded awards and will receive funding and guidance to broaden their efforts.

The winners will receive the prize during the Earth Champions ceremony in New York on September 26th.

The distinction is delivered during the General Debate of the United Nations General Assembly.

The jury selected the winners from 35 regional finalists from a list of over 1,000 candidates.

This year, the award is given by the UN Environment and Covestro, one of the world's largest polymer manufacturer companies.

In an interview with UN News, Adjany Costa said the prize is important for the continuity of her project and to highlight Angola's conservation efforts.

"The importance of receiving this distinction goes beyond my work. It is a way of showing that there is a conservation world in Angola beyond what is said, beyond what is institutional," she said.

The biologist added that there are people motivated to work in different areas and components of conservation.

"Specifically for my work is a way of showing that, even in remote areas, we have had some attention. And it is always a support, because this is not an easy job. It is a job that requires motivation, that requires some visibility so that we can continue, "she said.

She works with the Luchaze community in the eastern highlands of Angola.

These communities are threatened by unsustainable practices that threaten their livelihoods after nearly three decades of civil war.

The winner stated that it is important to do this work with the populations of the region.

"For me, it is important to be part of the land and we are all part of the land. It is even more important for the survival of these communities, which depend 100% on their surrounding environment. Knowing that in a few decades their children will not have a way of making a living, which is what they say, they are aware of it, it is important that they are involved to protect their own future. "

She first met the Luchaze when she participated in a scientific expedition along the Okavango River basin. For four months, Adjany traveled about 2,500 kilometers through Angola, Namibia and Botswana.

The Okavango River Basin is a vital ecosystem that is part of the largest freshwater wetland in southern Africa. More than one million people depend on this basin shared by Angola, Namibia and Botswana.

According to the UN Environment, the Botswana River Delta is home to abundant wildlife, including one of the largest elephant populations in the world.

The agency's executive director, Inger Andersen, said that "nature is declining worldwide at unprecedented rates, with serious impacts on humanity and the environment."

According to the representative, the evidence of this decline "is overwhelming" and "protecting the health of ecosystems and wild sites by 2050 is vital for survival and a sustainable future."

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