Zayed Sustainability Prize a global catalyst for sustainability, humanitarian action: Sheikh Mohamed

In a glittery ceremony held as part of the 2023 Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, the UAE President handed awards to the ten winners of the prize across five categories


Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Tue 17 Jan 2023, 12:19 AM

The UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, said that the Zayed Sustainability Prize has been playing a crucial role as a global catalyst for sustainability and humanitarian action.

In a glittery ceremony held as part of the 2023 Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), Sheikh Mohamed presented awards to the 10 winners of the 2023 Zayed Sustainability Prize across 5 categories.

The $3 million prize is the UAE’s pioneering global award in sustainability that recognises and rewards small and medium-sized enterprises, nonprofit organisations and high schools around the world that are delivering impactful, innovative and inspiring solutions in health, food, energy and water. Since 2008, through its 96 previous winners, the prize has transformed the lives of more than 378 million people around the world, including in Vietnam, Nepal, Sudan, Ethiopia, Maldives and Tuvalu.

“The UAE continues to lead on important global initiatives at the heart of our mission to create a better future for all, both within the UAE and beyond our nation’s borders. The bold ambition of the Zayed Sustainability Prize remains at the forefront of these efforts. It creates a pathway for delivering life-changing humanitarian aid and solutions to communities around the world,” Sheikh Mohamed said.

His Highness noted that the 15th edition of the prize comes in a historic year for the UAE as it prepares to host the COP28. Against this backdrop, this year’s awards serve as an important reminder of the need for greater international collaboration to mobilise climate action and create sustainable economic and social development opportunities across all nations, including the global south.

“Over the last 15 years, the Zayed Sustainability Prize has successfully built upon the legacy of the UAE’s Founding Father, Sheikh Zayed, and carried forward his bold humanitarian vision, ensuring that the resources of our great nation are fully used to the benefit of all people. Today, the Zayed Sustainability Prize stands as an internationally recognised award that mobilises innovators, social entrepreneurs and young people to accelerate positive change for our planet and all people.”

His Highness emphasised the need to develop bright young people into the critical thinkers and leaders of sustainability of tomorrow, and praised the prize’s Global High Schools category, which empowers youth to play an active role in supporting their communities’ socio-economic development.

The Chair of the Jury and former President of the Republic of Iceland, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, said: “This year’s winners have demonstrated a new level of creativity and ambition in their solutions to tackle pressing global challenges. We are confident that these winners will provide meaningful and scalable impact in communities across the world, and in turn accelerate important climate action goals to help secure a sustainable future for all.”

Solving pressing challenges

Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and Director General of the Zayed Sustainability Prize, said over the years the prize has become a key supporter of the UAE's vision to drive inclusive climate action and international sustainable development.

“By providing real-world solutions in sustainability to vulnerable communities around the world, the prize honours Sheikh Zayed’s contribution towards social good, and elevates humanity on a global scale. Our 106 winners are driving action to solve the world’s most pressing challenges. Through their commitment to championing positive action, millions of people who were living without access to energy, water, healthcare, or food in the developing world, now have sustainable economic and social development opportunities, including access to quality education, decent work, economic growth and improved livelihoods.”

Dr Al Jaber added that as the UAE prepares to host COP28, the prize stands as a critical reminder of the UAE’s commitment to accelerating practical solutions needed to help societies mitigate and adapt to climate change.

Since 2013, the prize has awarded 46 high schools under its Global High Schools category from countries around the world. Students at these schools won for their self-led project proposals that have since been implemented by the youth. Collectively, they have generated 7.2 million kWh of electricity, saved 5,700 tonnes of CO2 and positively impacted 427,408 people in their communities.

The winners were selected from a pool of 4,538 submissions – a record number – selected by a panel of more than 40 experts. The Jury members include Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, Former President of the Republic of Iceland, UAE ministers, Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group, Dr. Andreas Jacobs, Chairman of INSEAD, and Jacobs Family Council, among others.


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