The Ladakh based Global Himalayan Expedition, which focuses on sustainable travel and deep engagement between travellers and remote communities, has added the prestigious UN Global Climate action Award to its roster
The firm leverages tourism and technology to help remote communities access solar energy. Founded by Paras Loomba, the firm had won the G20 Sustainable tourism Award last year as the mot innovative startup promoting sustainable tourism.
GHE is among the winners of the 2020 UN Global Climate Action Award, announced on October 27. The UN Global Climate Action Awards are spearheaded by the Momentum for Change initiative at UN Climate Change and each project presents an innovative solution that both addresses climate change and helps drive progress on other SDGs. The full list of winners include:
Climate Neutral Now:
- Interface | Global: A pioneering flooring-manufacturer that is transforming its business to have zero negative impact on the planet.
- Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort | Aruba: The Caribbean’s first – and only – hotel to achieve carbon neutral certification, and now working to go carbon negative.
- Signify | Global: A major multi-national lighting company that has reduced its carbon footprint by more than 70% and has transformed all of its global markets to carbon neutrality.
- Dallas Fort Worth International Airport | United States of America: The first carbon neutral airport in North America, now implementing a Renewable Natural Gas Initiative.
Financing for Climate Friendly Investment:
- Payments for Environmental Services Program | Costa Rica: A financial mechanism that promotes forest ecosystem conservation – the first of its type in the country and the region.
- The Luxembourg Green Exchange | Luxembourg: The world’s first platform fully dedicated to green bonds, now expanded to include social and sustainability bonds as well as SRI funds.
- Global Himalayan Expedition | India: One of the world’s first organizations using the force of tourism coupled with technology to bring solar energy to remote communities.
- C40 Cities Finance Facility | Global: A facility that enables cities in developing and emerging economies to develop finance-ready projects that address climate change.
Women for Results:
- Elemental Excelerator | Global: The first organization to apply a technology accelerator model to addressing climate change, investing in startups with the potential to decarbonize economies.
- Nature-Based Solutions to Increase Urban Adaptability | Thailand: A landscape architect who is building innovative landscape solutions, making Bangkok more resilient to climate change.
- Health In Harmony | Indonesia, Madagascar, Brazil: An organization that reverses deforestation by meeting the health & economic needs of local communities through women-led innovation.
- Bioplanet Programme | Brazil: A Brazilian company that has found a technological way to reuse residual kitchen fats to produce biodiesel.
- RISE2030 | Lebanon: A community-led initiative that launched the first all-women solar team in Lebanon to challenge the gender stereotypes in the male-dominated construction sector.
The 13 award-winning projects fall within three focus areas:Climate Neutral Now,Women for Results, and Financing for Climate Friendly Investment. All activities will be showcased at a series of special online events in November and December.
GHE is one of the world’s first organisations using tourism and technology to bring solar energy to remote communities.
According to a statement on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) website, GHE is one of the world’s first outfit using tourism and technology to bring solar energy to remote communities as recognised by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).
In the Hindu Kush Region, there are more than 16 million people without access to basic energy mainly due to their geographic remoteness. GHE conducts “Impact Expeditions” to remote Himalayan villages and uses a portion of the expedition fee to fund the capital cost of the hardware, transportation, installation and training of village-scale solar micro-grids.
The micro-grid infrastructure set up by GHE is owned and operated by the community.
To date, the GHE has solar electrified more than 131 villages in three regions of India, directly impacting the lives of more than 60,000 villagers. More than 1,300 travellers from 60 different countries have been a part of these expeditions. Enabling livelihood through homestay tourism has generated over USD 114,000 in income for the villages, which represents a 45 percent increase in the annual household income, the statement said.
Congratulating the winners of the 2020 UN Global Climate Action Awards, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the winners provide tangible proof that climate action is underway around the world.
“It is exciting to see these climate solutions, which reinforce my call for decisive leadership on climate change by governments, businesses and cities, and for a green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Let us keep pressing ahead to build a more sustainable and equitable future for all,” he said.