This Filipina is one of the Young Champions of the Earth finalists

July 23, 2020 - 7:29 PM
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This 2017 photo shows, founder and managing trustee of Masungi Georeserve, Ann Dumaliang. (Ann Dumaliang/Facebook)

A Filipina environment advocate has been shortlisted as one of the 35 regional finalists competing for this year’s Young Champions of the Earth prize, the United Nations’ highest environmental honor for youth.

Ann Dumaliang, 28, is the founder and managing trustee of a private-led conservation area in Baras, Rizal, Masungi Georeserve. She initiated the project in 2015.

Dumaliang was chosen from a total of 845 other individuals across the regions “for their fresh approach to tackling the world’s most pressing environmental crises, with groundbreaking, scalable and innovative ideas.”

The applicants are aged between 18 to 30 with “with big ideas to protect or restore the environment.”

The UN Environment Programme announced the finalists last Monday.

“Seeing the destruction and threats surrounding a place I love dearly, I knew it would be the regret of my lifetime if I did not do anything to try to make it last. I hope to continue protecting it as well as other wild spaces in my country,” Dumaliang said.

“I am a lover of the natural world and sustainability, a National Geographic Young Explorer and a World Economic Forum Global Shaper,” she added.

Global jury of this international award will choose seven winners from each region and two from Asia-Pacific.

The winners to be announced in December will receive $US10,000 in funding to support their sustainable ideas.

Last June 30, Gothernberg, Sweden’s WIN WIN International Youth Sustainability Award  also selected Masungi Geopark project as one of the top five finalists out of the 358 nominations from 80 countries.

This international award “aims to empower and reward young people who play an active role in the creation of a more sustainable future” with applicants aged between 13 to 29.

Masungi welcomed this international citation.

“We are deeply honored for this recognition of our youth-led restoration and rewilding efforts around Masungi. We dedicate this honor to our team members, collaborators, mentors, and to YOU, our community, for being our champions amid the challenges of our work,” it said.

The Rizal-based reservation park, led by sisters Ann and Billie, was also recognized as one of the top three privately led sustainable tourism projects at the UN World Tourism Organization Awards in Russia in September last year, besting out 197 other nominations globally.