Sir David Attenborough and the BBC Studios Natural History Unit awarded Chatham House Prize 2019 for ocean advocacy
The 2019 Chatham House Prize is awarded to Sir David Attenborough and Julian Hector, head of BBC Studios Natural History Unit, for the galvanizing impact of the Blue Planet II series on tackling ocean plastic pollution.
The Chatham House Prize is awarded to the person, persons or organization who is deemed to have made the most significant contribution to the improvement of international relations in the previous year. The presentation ceremony and panel discussion with the winners will be livestreamed today.
The Blue Planet II series highlighted the damage caused by discarded plastics to the world’s oceans and marine wildlife. It is estimated that there are more than 150 million tonnes of plastic in the world’s oceans; resulting in the deaths of 1 million birds and 100,000 sea mammals each year.
Dr Robin Niblett, director of Chatham House said: ‘Plastic pollution is one of the gravest challenges facing the world’s oceans, and undoubtedly an international issue. Sir David and the BBC Studios Natural History Unit played an instrumental role in helping to put this issue at the forefront of the public agenda. Blue Planet II spurred a passionate global response and generated clear behavioural and policy change.’
This year the G20 agreed on an international framework to address marine plastic litter, acknowledging the increasing urgency of the issue and the need for an international solution. This follows action from the UK government, including a plan to ban common plastic items and investment in global research.
Dr Niblett thanked Chatham House members for voting and acknowledged the outstanding achievements of the 2019 nominees:
Abiy Ahmed, prime minister of Ethiopia, nominated for his efforts to transform civic leadership and promote plural politics, free speech and peace in Ethiopia
Katrín Jakobsdóttir, prime minister of Iceland, nominated for her commitment to gender equality and women’s financial inclusion in Iceland
The Prize will be presented to Sir David and Julian Hector at Chatham House today. The event will be livestreamed.
For more information please contact
Chatham House Press Office
+44 (0)207 957 5739
BBC Studios Natural History Unit Communications Manager
+44 (0) 7513 137893
About the Chatham House Prize
The Chatham House Prize is voted for by Chatham House members, following nominations from the institute’s staff. The award is presented on behalf of the institute's patron, Her Majesty the Queen, representing the non-partisan and authoritative character of the Prize.
The Chatham House Prize was launched in 2005. Previous recipients of the Prize include the Committee to Protect Journalists, Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos, president of Ghana John Kufuor, Médecins Sans Frontières and Melinda Gates, co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Chatham House is a world-leading policy institute based in London. Our mission is to help governments and societies build a sustainably secure, prosperous and just world. We engage governments, the private sector, civil society and our members in open debate and private discussions about the most significant developments in international affairs. Our research and policy ideas involve rigorous analysis of critical global, regional and country-specific challenges and opportunities.
About BBC Studios Natural History Unit
BBC Studios Natural History Unit produces the world’s most iconic natural history programmes, such as Blue Planet II and Planet Earth II, which have been watched by more than a billion people globally. Ranging from technically challenging live shows and super-landmarks to long-running series and children’s content, The Natural History Unit programmes include Dynasties, Blue Planet Live, Springwatch, Animal Babies: First Year On Earth, Andy’s Dinosaur Adventures as well as the currently on air Seven Worlds, One Planet presented by Sir David Attenborough and third-party commissions for Discovery, Apple, Quibi, National Geographic and BBC America.
The Natural History Unit is part of BBC Studios, a subsidiary of the BBC, which develops, produces and distributes bold, British content, making over 2,500 hours of content each year, operating in 22 markets globally and generating revenue of around £1.4bn. In the year to March 2019, it returned £243m to the BBC Group, complementing the BBC’s licence fee and enhancing programmes for UK audiences.
Latest News from
Does Restricting Travel During a Pandemic Work?21/05/2020 12:20:00
The World Health Organization (WHO) has consistently advised against restricting travel and trade during outbreaks. But most countries have still imposed restrictions to prevent the import of COVID-19. WHO needs to rethink its approach.
Democracy Delayed: COVID-19’s Effect on Latin America’s Politics20/05/2020 17:11:00
Democracy is often depicted as a means to peacefully resolve political conflict and socioeconomic discontent. But what happens when that essential safety valve of elections has been closed off?
Accelerating Innovation in Food Systems Needs Transparency and Dialogue20/05/2020 16:33:00
Innovation requires a high failure rate so, while many new technologies may fail, investment in development, testing and social acceptability is crucial to the future of our food systems.
COVID-19 Will Reshape Our Relationship with the State13/05/2020 16:33:00
Although it is not yet known how coronavirus impacts on politics, it will almost certainly fundamentally reshape the relationship between citizen and state.
In the COVID-19 Era, Healthcare Should be Universal and Free13/05/2020 13:38:00
Coronavirus is the ultimate example of why we need universal health coverage because, if anyone is left out, it threatens the health security of everyone.
Coronavirus: Nigeria’s ‘Fiscal Flu’13/05/2020 12:48:00
Beyond the immediate concerns of containing the spread of COVID-19, Nigeria’s greatest challenge – a fiscal crisis of historic proportions – is beginning to unfold.
Coronavirus Vaccine: Available For All, or When it's Your Turn?05/05/2020 15:10:00
Despite high-level commitments and pledges to cooperate to ensure equitable global access to a coronavirus vaccine, prospects for fair distribution are uncertain.
Can Protest Movements in the MENA Region Turn COVID-19 Into an Opportunity for Change?30/04/2020 15:10:00
The COVID-19 pandemic will not in itself result in political change in the MENA region, that depends on the ability of both governments and protest movements to capitalize on this moment. After all, crises do not change the world – people do.