Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has received the UN's highest environmental honour - 'The Champions of the Earth' award and dedicated it to the people of the country.
The award was given to Bangladesh in recognition of its far-reaching initiatives in addressing problems induced by climate change.
The award was handed over to the Prime Minister by the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Achim Steiner at a gala reception on Sunday evening, local time, by appreciating her as an inspirational leader since she showed the necessity to work for environment protection and climate change, according to a message received in Dhaka.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was given the Award in Policy Leadership category for her outstanding leadership on the frontline of climate change. National Geographic Society received the award in Science and Innovation Category for over a century of life-changing science, exploration and storytelling.
Dedicating the award to the people of Bangladesh, the Prime Minister said, "Bangladeshi people have learnt how to tackle climate change, disasters and survive, this award is the recognition of the spirit and resilience of our people in fighting climate changes."
The UN had said the award, in the Policy Leadership Category, recognised 'Bangladesh's first-off-the-block initiatives under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's government to prepare the ecologically-fragile country for the challenges it faces from climate change'.
Since its introduction in 2004, the Champions of the Earth award has recognised 67 laureates in the categories of policy, science, business, and civil society. Sheikh Hasina said, "As the world talks about a Common Future for all, we're ready to do our part of commitment to protect and nurture our planet."
She said, "For the geographical position, our people has to face adverse climate situations all the time because of natural calamities, so, our people have learnt how to combat this situation and we are doing it with our own resources."
"We receive many promises from different countries, but, practically, we haven't received any substantial amount of money or any other things. But we didn't sit idle," the Prime Minister said.
She continued, "We started with our own resources and ideas how to save our country and our people from these climate changes. We have taken our own steps and now we're getting the results."
She said it would have been very difficult for her government to face these challenges without people's cooperation.
"I want to establish Bangladesh as a poverty-free, hunger-free, developed country, and Bengali people as a developed nation," Sheikh Hasina reiterated her promise to the world stage.
Earlier, UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said Bangladesh Prime Minister's 'visionary leadership' had led her country to be the first to introduce a 'Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan' to effectively protect the environment.
He added that following her initiative, Bangladesh was also the first state in the world to set up a 'Climate Change Trust Fund'. The UNEP earlier nominated Sheikh Hasina as one of the winners of its top environmental accolade recognising her policy leadership for combating the adverse impacts of climate change.
UNEP also honoured four other inspirational environmental leaders conferring upon them the 'Champions of the Earth' Award at a colourful ceremony at Hotel Cipriani Le Specialita.
The other winners of 2015 are the National Geographic Society (Science and Innovation), Brazilian cosmetics firm Natura (Entrepreneurial Vision) and South Africa's Black Mamba Anti-Poaching Unit (Inspiration and Action.