Toward low-emission development: Visionary leaders win new annual climate and development prizes

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, Friday 16 October

The Low Emission Development Strategies (LEDS) Global Partnership has announced the winners of its 2015 annual awards for low-emission development. They are champions from around the world who demonstrate outstanding vision and action to achieve low-emission, sustainable development. “These LEDS leaders are transforming the way development is done on the ground. Their efforts show that ‎climate-smart economic development can benefit people, communities, and the environment,” said Ashley Allen, LEDS Coordinator, U.S. State Department.

The winners in the three categories are:

  • Acting on Implementation: Ms. Andrea Guerrero, Director of Economic, Environmental and Social Affairs Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Colombia
  • Achieving Results: Ms. Kanya Onsri, President, Environmental Conservation and Alternative Career Community (shown right)
  • Leading Design: Mr. Charlie Heaps, Senior Scientist, Stockholm Environment Institute

“We are honored to be recognizing these three winners of the first set of LEDS Global Partnership Leadership Awards,” said Ron Benioff, Co-Director, LEDS Global Partnership. “Kanya, Andrea, and Charlie are true champions in demonstrating the value of development pathways that achieve social and economic goals with low carbon and climate resilient solutions. Their tireless efforts and commitment to inclusive change is an inspiration to governments and institutions around the world and sets a model that we all aspire to follow.”

andrea guerrero medAndrea Guerrero (left), a Colombian, has led efforts in Colombia to promote governmental action to mitigate GHG emissions and guide the country on a green growth pathway. Andrea started the Colombian Low Carbon Development Strategy (CLCDS), which aims to strengthen Colombia’s economic and social development while stimulating efficiency, competitiveness and environmental performance. Many countries have since emulated the CLCDS. Andrea helped lead the design phase of the Colombian low-carbon development strategy in all phases, consolidating a group of people in Colombia to create capacity for mitigation actions. As Director of Economic, Environmental and Social Affairs Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Government of Colombia, Andrea is committed to making Colombia a leading global example of sustainable development.

Kanya Onsri, a Thai national, has been actively working toward sustainable communities in Thailand, primarily by raising awareness about the impacts of chemical usage in agricultural production and advancing low-carbon land use strategies. Ms. Onsri founded the “Sufficiency Economy” learning center, visited by an estimated 2,000 people per year. She also established the “Environmental Conservation and Alternative Career” group, which counts over one hundred households in its membership. She started a green market in Surin Municipality, selling non-chemical, resource efficient agricultural products harvested by more than six-dozen local farmers. In addition, she has worked with private organizations to preserve community forests and has collaborated with organic farmers to establish a rice cooperative.

Charlie Heaps, an American, led the development of and training on the LEAP (Long-range Energy Alternatives Planning System) tool, which has been used by thousands of organizations in more than 190 countries around the world to guide decisions on sustainable development. For example, its results have been used to guide policy-makers in China in setting more stringent standards, codes, and policies to help achieve their national commitment to energy reduction and emissions mitigation. His work with ECRAN Network ( is an example of building capacity in public administrations in seven Western Balkan countries (Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Montenegro). Training results focused on assessing climate and energy policy options and setting emission targets. Watch a video with Charlie at the LEDS GP annual event in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, below.


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Image: Kanya Onsri, credit Asia LEDS Platform.

The LEDS Global Partnership (LEDS GP) harnesses the collective knowledge and resources of more than 160 countries, as well as international donor and technical organizations to strengthen climate-resilient, low-emission development efforts around the world. The LEDS GP delivers support through three vibrant regional platforms: the Africa LEDS Partnership (AfLP), the Asia LEDS Partnership (ALP) and the LEDS Latin America and Caribbean Regional Platform (LEDS LAC). The Latimer House Principles provide a guiding structure for activities of the LEDS GP.

A steering committee provides guidance and sets strategic direction for the LEDS GP, and a global secretariat consisting of the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) coordinates LEDS GP implementation, knowledge management, and outreach.

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Cathryn Poff