ABU DHABI, 11th August, 2022 (WAM) — Following a successful four-month period for receiving submissions, the Zayed Sustainability Prize, the UAE’s pioneering global award recognising excellence in sustainability, is officially closed to entries for its 2023 edition.
Over 4,500 applications were received across the prize’s five categories – health, food, energy, water and global high schools, from a record 152 countries, highlighting the prize’s growing global reach and impact.
The winners will be announced at the 2023 Zayed Sustainability Prize Awards Ceremony, on 16th January, 2023, during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.
The prize witnessed a 13 percent increase in submissions from small and medium-sized enterprises (SME), non-profit organisations (NGO) and high schools compared to last year. Total submissions from SMEs increased across all categories, underscoring a rising trend that SMEs are placing sustainability at the top of their agenda.
Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and Director-General of the Prize, said, “For the past 14 years, the Zayed Sustainability Prize has incentivised practical solutions to global challenges that deliver tangible impact at a community level around the world. Inspired by the commitment to sustainable development and the humanitarian legacy of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the prize has improved the lives of 370 million people in 151 countries to date. This year, we have seen applications from a record number of countries across every category, from health, food, energy, water and global high schools. I am excited to see what creative solutions this year’s applicants will bring to the table, especially as the UAE is preparing to host COP28 next year.”
“As we want to leverage COP28 as a platform for inclusivity and practical outcomes, I am confident that the prize can help deliver social and economic progress across the private sector, the small business community and an increasingly active and engaged younger generation,” he added.
This year’s submissions were more diverse than ever before, revealing the impact of climate change on every country across every continent and reflecting a growing awareness that urgent climate action is critical to meeting international net zero carbon goals by the mid-century.
More submissions this year also came from developing nations in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, East Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa, which confirms the growing participation of developing countries in combatting climate change.
The countries with the most submissions include Kenya, India, China, Egypt, Brazil and the US. By receiving submissions from a wide range of areas, the prize is better equipped to achieve its goal of driving impactful, innovative and inspiring sustainable and humanitarian development around the world.
The food and health categories attracted the most submissions at 1,426 and 946, respectively, followed by energy with 736 and water with 601, while the global high schools’ category received 829 submissions.
In the food category, which witnessed a nearly 20 percent increase in submissions compared to last year, many entries presented solutions for achieving sustainable food production to help address rising food insecurity and malnutrition in a world threatened by climate change.
In the health category, several entries addressed the weaknesses of healthcare systems exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic and offered solutions for providing more resilient, inclusive, accessible and sustainable healthcare services to those most in need.
In the energy category, the prize received many entries focussed on improving sustainable energy access in vulnerable communities, as well as supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 7, which is affordable and clean energy for all and driving the low-carbon energy transition.
In the water category, several entries offered solutions to address the global challenges facing clean water production, climate change and water resource management challenges, particularly in developing nations.
The number of submissions received from high schools increased by 55 percent compared to last year, which is encouraging and a testament to the growing awareness of the youth of the challenges and risks caused by the climate crisis, as well as the opportunity to lead sustainable development efforts.
Entries in the global high school category proposed waste management solutions, clean energy systems and food systems, such as hydroponics and aquaponics, reflecting the innovative thinking of students and their careful consideration of projects appropriate for their local communities.
Following the closing of submissions, the prize will now enter the evaluation stage, and all entries will be shortlisted by an independent research and analysis consultancy. A selection committee comprising internationally-renowned industry experts will then assess the qualifying entries and shortlist the candidates. The third and final stage of the evaluation process will be done by the jury, which will convene in October to select the winners in each category unanimously.
Since its launch in 2008, the prize, worth US$3 million, has, directly and indirectly, transformed the lives of over 370 million people worldwide. Its global impact is continuing to grow, further promoting humanitarian outreach and sustainable development. Each winner in the health, food, energy and water categories will receive $600,000 to expand the scope and scale of their sustainability solutions, while the six winners of the global high school category, representing six global regions, will each receive up to $100,000.