The President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, has received the annual Kew International Medal from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew.

President Santos received the award in recognition for his work in protecting Columbia's biodiversity.

In a ceremony at The Institution of Civil Engineers, in Westminster, he said: "It is an honour to receive this award in the name of the many people and communities committed to seeking peace in Colombia.

“One of the victims of the armed conflict was the environment, so now that we are building peace, we need to reconcile not only with each other but also with nature

“Colombia's future depends how we protect what we have. We will not survive threats like climate change if we don’t adapt so we need to develop in a sustainable way.”

Also present was a delegation from the Colombian government which joined environmental campaigners, diplomats and scientists from top UK institutions at the awards ceremony.

The president, who is the first head of state to receive this honour, also gave a lecture on protecting Columbia's biodiversity where, in recent years a total of 88 new species of plant life have being discovered, while 212 species found only in Columbia have been identified as threatened.

Richard Deverell, director of Royal Botanic Garden Kew, said: “Colombia is the second most biodiverse country in the world with a significant proportion of its fauna and flora yet to be discovered and studied.

“We are delighted to recognise the efforts by President Santos to protect millions of hectares of land and preserve this unique land and its ecosystems.”