acoactivist, UN Champion of the Earth, Chairwoman at MoveGreen NGO, Kyrgyzstan. Expert in advocacy and information campaigns on air quality and climate change. Founder of Air Quality Central
Maria Kolesnikova is the Head of the MoveGreen environmental organization in Kyrgyzstan. She is a team leader, public figure, and PR and communications specialist with over 11 years of experience in research, stakeholder engagement, advocacy, and awareness raising. In 2021, Maria was awarded the Champion of the Earth, the UN's highest award in the environment protection area. MoveGreen has become the central actor and reference point for civil society and government alike, especially in the area of air pollution monitoring and action. In 2020, Maria became a member of the Eco Council in the City Hall of Bishkek and led the engagement of civil society, experts, and decision-makers to finalize the Governmental Action Plan targeted at the improvement of the environmental situation of the City of Bishkek until 2023. This Action Plan was built upon the outcomes of Maria and MoveGreen’s work since 2018 and has been implemented by officials and updated every year since then. In 2019, Maria received the ARGO “Amazing people” award for a civil society initiative along with the Dmitrii Tereshkevich Central Asian Environmental prize. The same year, Maria was selected as a participant in the International Visitor Leadership Program taking place in the USA and covering the topic of “Monitoring Pollution: How Data Affects Policy and Change”. In 2018, she also represented Central Asian youth at the UN House in Geneva, speaking on the importance of open environmental data for citizens, using the examples of MoveGreen’s air quality monitoring network. Her leadership story was told by the UN Women's main communication channels.
Social movements: their role in advocating to reduce the negative health effects of climate change