Dusseldorf – On Friday, Paula Caballero, a Managing Director at Rare, was presented with the German Sustainability Award for her role in creating the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Caballero was one of four recipients, along with former German President Joachim Gauk, musician Mick Hucknall and architect Bjarke Ingels. The German Sustainability Award, now in its twelfth year, seeks “creative solutions to the challenges of tomorrow.” The award is Europe’s largest award for ecological and social commitment. The prize is awarded by the German Sustainability Award Foundation in cooperation with the German federal government and other partners.
“I am honored and humbled to receive this award, and grateful for Germany’s commitment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Caballero. “The SDGs dared to imagine a world where development is a spectrum along which all countries, all peoples, have a role, have challenges, have opportunities.”
Caballero is widely acknowledged as the lead proponent of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. In 2015, 17 goals were adopted by the UN Member States. The SDGs, now the bedrock of the international development agenda, marked a true paradigm shift in how development has been understood and tackled. Caballero was the first to advance the idea of a single universal agenda, relevant to all countries and fully integrated across sectors and economic, environmental, and social dimensions. The SDGs have been embraced by governments, private sector, and civil society. They are the organizing framework for radically shifting the world to pathways that ensure a vibrant, thriving planet for centuries to come.
Caballero has been a leading voice and negotiator in international climate fora including the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the Post 2015 framework. Earlier, Caballero was also awarded the Zayed Environment Prize for “Environmental Action Leading to Positive Change in Society” as recognition for having been instrumental in the early conceptualization and promotion of Sustainable Development Goals.
“Getting the world to adopt the 17 SDGs was a tremendous achievement,” said Caballero. “But to achieve the change at the scale and speed that’s needed in the face of climate change and other global challenges, we need SDG 18: Behavior Change. At Rare, we’re leading this effort to apply our growing understanding of human behavior and decision making to design bold, new solutions with a greater chance of delivering lasting, sustainable change.”
Caballero joined Rare in 2018. At Rare, Caballero leads the Lands for Life program designed to increase the adoption of climate-compatible agricultural practices to ensure healthier soil, watersheds and landscapes, while empowering small-scale farmers to improve their livelihoods. Lands for Life, which currently operates in Caballero’s native Colombia, leverages behavioral strategies and Rare’s unique behavior-centered design approach to change how extension agents, local leaders and authorities, and smallholder farmers interact with the land, water, and forests around them.
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