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02 December 2023
11 Winners Recognised at Zayed Sustainability Prize Awards Ceremony held during COP28 UAE
1 December 2023, ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates - His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, today awarded the winners of the Zayed Sustainability Prize, the UAE’s pioneering global award in sustainability and humanitarianism, during a ceremony held at COP28 UAE in Expo City Dubai.
The Ceremony was attended by numerous heads of delegations participating in COP28, ministers, senior government officials, and Prize winners and finalists.
The Zayed Sustainability Prize’s Jury elected the 33 finalists from 5,213 entries received across six categories: Health, Food, Energy, Water, Climate Action and Global High Schools – a 15% increase in submissions compared to last year. The new Climate Action category, introduced to mark the UAE’s Year of Sustainability and hosting of COP28 UAE, received 3,178 nominations.
His Highness congratulated the winners, praising their efforts in promoting sustainability and encouraging them to continue their important contributions in this field. His Highness emphasised that the UAE is steadfast in building upon its established legacy in sustainability, a foundation laid by the country’s Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. In this regard, His Highness highlighted the significant role of the Zayed Sustainability Prize in advancing sustainable development, serving humanity, and empowering innovators, entrepreneurs, and youth to actively contribute towards making a positive difference for our planet.
H.E. Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, Director General of the Zayed Sustainability Prize, and COP28 President-Designate, said the finalists exemplify the remarkable ingenuity and unwavering commitment to shaping a more sustainable and resilient future for our planet.
The Prize honours the legacy of UAE’s founding father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, by rewarding small and medium enterprises, nonprofit organisations, and high schools that are addressing health, food, energy, water and climate-related challenges. For over 15 years, through its 106 previous winners, the Prize has transformed the lives of 384 million people worldwide.
The Prize’s eleven winners for the current cycle were elected in September by a distinguished panel of Jury members, who rigorously evaluated each submission for its contribution and commitment to delivering impactful, innovative, and inspiring solutions across the six categories of Health, Food, Energy, Water, Climate Action and Global High Schools.
To strengthen its commitment to promoting sustainable and humanitarian development, the Zayed Sustainability Prize will be increasing its endowment, from US $3.6M to US $5.9M, effective immediately.
H.E. Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, Director General of the Zayed Sustainability Prize, and COP28 President, said: “Today, the UAE reaffirms its dedication to combat climate change and empower vulnerable communities as we award US $1 million to each of our distinguished winners in Health, Food, Water, Energy and Climate Action, and US $150,000 to each Global High Schools winner. This substantial funding will help scale their innovative solutions and deliver transformational progress around the world, especially across the Global South.”
“As the Zayed Sustainability Prize’s 15th anniversary draws to a close, we reflect on the UAE's mission to drive inclusive sustainable development and climate action. The Prize not only honours Sheikh Zayed's legacy of social good but extends the reach of his vision on a global scale.”
With a larger fund, the Prize can broaden its support for innovative solutions that not only positively impact the environment but also improve the well-being and economic development of the world’s most climate-vulnerable communities.
In the new Climate Action category, Kelp Blue, a Namibian SME, won the Prize for its ambitious efforts to cultivate large-scale kelp forests in deep waters, contributing to the restoration of ocean biodiversity while capturing 100,000 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere annually. Additionally, their operations have generated job opportunities in coastal communities.
In the Health category, Indonesia’s doctorSHARE was awarded the Prize for its pioneering work in bringing healthcare access to hard-to-reach areas, notably with barge-mounted floating hospitals. Their impact is substantial, having treated over 160,000 patients.
In the Food category, Gaza Urban & Peri-urban Agricultural Platform (GUPAP) from Palestine, won for its contributions to supporting a more resilient agricultural sector in Gaza. The NPO facilitates access to locally produced food, providing job security to 200 women agriprenuers and benefitting more than 7,000 people.
In the Energy category, Ignite Power, an SME from Rwanda, was awarded the Prize for its transformative efforts to provide affordable electricity to last-mile communities across Sub-Saharan Africa. Their pay-as-you-go solar solutions provided electricity to 2.5 million people and prevented 600,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions. Beyond access to clean energy, Ignite Power has introduced solar powered irrigation solutions and generated 3,500 local jobs.
In the Water category, Eau et Vie, an NPO from France, won for its contributions to ensuring access to clean water in impoverished areas by installing taps in urban homes. They have increased water access for 52,000 people in 27 communities across 10 cities. Furthermore, they raised awareness of hygienic practices for 66,000 individuals and reduced the cost of water by 75%.
The Chair of the Jury and former President of the Republic of Iceland, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, said: "This year's winners have demonstrated a remarkable wave of ingenuity in their solutions to address urgent global challenges. We have confidence that these winners will catalyse substantial and scalable change in communities worldwide, propelling us towards vital climate action objectives and forging a path to a sustainable future for all."
The Zayed Sustainability Prize also engages young people through its Global High Schools category and encourages youth to take an active role in supporting their communities and becoming future sustainability leaders. The Prize’s 47 Global High Schools winners have impacted the lives of over 55,186 students and 453,887 people in their wider communities.
The recipients of the Global High Schools awards are Colegio De Alto Rendimiento De La Libertad (Peru), representing The Americas; Gwani Ibrahim Dan Hajja Academy (Nigeria), representing Sub-Saharan Africa; International School (Morocco), representing the Middle East & North Africa; Northfleet Technology College (United Kingdom), representing Europe & Central Asia; KORT Education Complex (Pakistan), representing South Asia; and finally, Beijing High School No. 35 (China), representing East Asia & Pacific.
24 November 2023
Ride to COP28 UAE: An Epic Sustainability Journey
The Zayed Sustainability Prize has sponsored 'Ride to COP28 UAE', an e-bike journey that spans 7,500 kilometres and traverses two continents and five countries. The rider will travel from Nairobi to Dubai with stops in Kenya, Egypt, Jordan, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It's a challenging journey, but beyond the physical demands, the Ride hopes to spark meaningful conversations about sustainable living.
Jesse Forrester, an alumnus of South Africa's African Leadership Academy, winner of the 2019 Zayed Sustainability Prize, devised the journey to showcase the viability and importance of e-mobility. Forrester shares his vision, stating, "We believe in the potential of e-mobility to transform transportation and address climate change. This journey signifies our commitment to cleaner, greener mobility and our dedication to tangible solutions."
As the CEO and Co-founder of Mazi Mobility based in Nairobi, Kenya, Jesse organised the ride to encourage more people to adopt electric vehicles. This initiative contributes to the fight against climate change by aiming to reduce CO2 emissions.
In partnership with the Zayed Sustainability Prize, the UAE’s pioneering global award accelerating sustainable development and humanitarian impact, and Mazi Mobility, ‘Ride to COP28’ seeks to demonstrate that sustainable transport is not only environmentally friendly but also cost-effective, highlighting the importance of practical solutions in tackling environmental challenges.
As COP28 UAE draws nearer, ‘Ride to COP28’ aligns seamlessly with the conference's theme, the ‘COP of Action’. It mirrors the UAE's unwavering commitment to finding real-world solutions to global environmental issues. This journey symbolises the urgency of the climate crisis and emphasises the collective effort required to create a cleaner and more sustainable world.
Join us in following this epic ride, where we see the transformative potential of e-mobility solutions and the impact of dedicated individuals driving change towards a greener future for all. Stay tuned for more updates from Ride to COP28 UAE.
On Instagram, follow the Ride to COP28 at @ridetocop28.
09 November 2023
Beyond2020 Improves Access to Clean Water for 10,000 Rural Malaysians
Sustainable water fountains in 25 rural Malaysian communities provide clean, safe water, reducing waterborne illnesses
Abu Dhabi, UAE – 09 November, 2023 – Beyond2020, the UAE-driven humanitarian initiative, has installed water filters in 25 communities in the Sabah and Sarawak regions of Malaysia, providing clean drinking water to 10,000 people.
Beyond2020 was launched by the Zayed Sustainability Prize in 2019 in partnership with several leading organisations with the aim of furthering the humanitarian legacy of the UAE’s Founding Father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, by providing sustainable technologies and solutions to vulnerable communities around the world. Malaysia marks the 17th deployment of the initiative, which will continue to offer life-transforming interventions to a broader number of beneficiaries worldwide, providing tech for good and fostering development that is inclusive and sustainable.
Commenting on the installation in Malaysia, H.E. Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, Director General of the Zayed Sustainability Prize, and COP28 President-Designate, said, “The latest Beyond2020 project in Malaysia reflects the UAE’s commitment to humanitarianism and international sustainable development. Increasing climate impacts are undermining water security and affecting lives and livelihoods in many regions of the world, particularly across the Global South. As the UAE prepares to welcome the world at COP28, this project highlights the critical link between water and climate change and emphasises the potential for water innovations to uplift communities, and promote economic prosperity.
This deployment contributes significantly to Malaysia's ongoing efforts to enhance access to reliable, clean water. We value the cooperation of Malaysia’s Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change in implementing this initiative, which underscores the deep-rooted ties between our two countries.”
H.E. Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, Minister of Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change, said: “Providing safe drinking water is a top priority for Malaysia, a country that has made significant strides in improving its water and sanitation systems over the past decade. The UAE's Beyond2020 initiative, which has delivered safe drinking water to 10,000 Malaysians, showcases how innovative solutions can tackle our water challenges, particularly in the rural areas. We recognise the importance of extending these benefits to all segments of society, empowering every individual to lead healthier, more productive lives."
The communities impacted by the recently deployed environmentally friendly water filters are located in the Sabah and Sarawak regions of Malaysia, along the Rajang River. The people there have traditionally relied on surface water from the river for drinking and subsistence. Without the proper technology and systems to treat the water, however, villagers often experienced health issues. Children regularly suffered from diarrhea and dysentery, indicating the likelihood of waterborne parasites in the drinking water.
Water interventions are necessary to ensure that vulnerable populations, particularly children, women and the elderly, have access to clean drinking water.
Mansoor Mohamed Al Hamed, Chief Executive Officer, Mubadala Energy, said: “Investing in people and the communities we serve has always been at the heart of our mission. The latest Beyond2020 deployment in Malaysia exemplifies our dedication to humanitarianism and to deploying innovations aimed at relieving hardships faced by vulnerable communities. I am proud of this achievement, which fulfills the critical imperative to provide clean water to those in need through our community investment projects.”
In partnership with Wateroam – a social enterprise that specialises in designing simple, portable, durable, and affordable water filtration systems catered specifically for disaster relief and rural development, and the 2022 Zayed Sustainability Prize winner in the Water category – Beyond2020 deployed water filtration solutions, providing the communities with access to clean and safe drinking water.
As the sizes of communities differ between varying regions along the river, Wateroam provided two different water filters, catering to the specific needs of each group – the CommfilterTM Plus and ROAMfilterTM Ultra.
Both filters can remove over 99% of bacteria and viruses, but the CommfilterTM Plus provides safe drinking water for households and communities, while the ROAMfilterTM Ultra is designed to serve larger communities with its high flow rate. The filters utilise natural gravity flows or low wattage pumps, requiring little to no electricity to operate. They are easy to set-up and maintain, making it sustainable for locals to manage and use in the long-term.
Malaysia is rich in water resources, but in recent years, water supplies have been under pressure due to a combination of population growth, urbanisation, industrialisation and the expansion of irrigated agriculture. The deployment of environmentally friendly filters that enable communities to meet their water needs sustainably supports the realisation of Malaysia’s national water vision.
Beyond2020 brings together a leading number of partners which include Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, BNP Paribas, Mubadala Energy and Masdar.
As part of the initiative’s impact to-date, a total of 17 deployments have been rolled out, including energy, health, water and food-related solutions, transforming the lives of over 221,800 people in the following countries: Nepal, Tanzania, Uganda, Jordan, Egypt, Cambodia, Madagascar, Indonesia, Bangladesh, The Philippines, Rwanda, Peru, Lebanon, Sudan, Ethiopia, and Vietnam. In addition to Malaysia, another 3 countries have been identified as deployment grounds going forward.
03 November 2023
Youth Ambassadors at LACCW 2023: Championing Climate Action for a Sustainable Future
Students from Zayed Sustainability Prize-winning Global High Schools, Destiny Perez and Nailyng Giovannetty Fontalvo, played a significant role at the Latin America and the Caribbean Climate Week 2023 (LACCW), held in Panama City, Panama, from 23-27 October. Representing Instituto Iberia and Air Batalla, the youth ambassadors actively participated in a youth-led session that focused on the vital role of stocktaking exercises in addressing the devastating impacts of climate change.
Additionally, Destiny had the privilege of joining another panel, titled ‘Launch Green Jobs for Youth Pact in LAC: Approaches and Best Practices’ alongside esteemed figures, including UNICEF representatives, government officials from Panama and Colombia, and a Dominican NGO.
In the first session, titled ‘Stocktaking - An Opportunity for Ambition for Children & Youth’, both ambassadors explored the importance of stocktake exercises and emphasised the need for collective action by all stakeholders, with a particular emphasis on engaging youth and other vulnerable and underrepresented groups.
One of the primary objectives of this session was to provide inputs for the Youth Stocktake report, a pivotal document aimed at assessing youth inclusion and policy implementation in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process. By taking part in the Youth Stocktake, the ambassadors aimed to assess the level of youth involvement, identify progress and gaps in youth inclusion, and set a path forward for meaningful youth participation in climate policy making.
The session pivoted to a discussion of the importance of intergenerational, intercultural and gender perspectives in enhancing climate action. The ambassadors highlighted the paramount role of children and youth in local stocktake processes and the Global Stocktake (GST). They identified opportunities and challenges in fostering climate action from these perspectives.
The panelists discussed the paramount importance of involving children and youth in the Local Stocktake and the GST. They addressed questions about intergenerational equity, local-level initiatives to enhance youth representation, and the vision for mainstreaming young people in UNFCCC and regional decision-making processes.
Throughout the sessions, the ambassadors actively engaged with the discussion, sharing insights and perspectives on how youth can leverage COP28 UAE as a catalyst for driving the Youth Stocktake and inspiring real-world action. Their active participation contributed to a better understanding of how climate action can be made more inclusive, transparent, and participatory at both local and global levels.
The efforts of these Youth Ambassadors reflect the Prize’s commitment to addressing climate change's impacts through meaningful youth engagement and intergenerational collaboration. They are contributing to a collective global effort to tackle climate change, ensuring that no one is left behind in this critical endeavour.
23 October 2023
It's Time for Green TLTROs - Ending Barriers to Green Investment
By Garret Molloy, Alumni of Belvedere College, 2017 Global High Schools Prize Winner
As we grapple with the imminent climate crisis, it becomes crucial to consider the financial aspects of sustainable transformation. Figures like Isabel Schnabel, a member of the European Central Bank’s (ECB) Executive Board, and Irene Heemskerk, Head of ECB Climate Centre, have emphasised the risk of climate-induced inflation leading to long-term pressures, especially in developing economies reliant on commodities. These pressures stem from factors like 'climateflation,' 'fossilflation' and 'greenflation.'
These issues share a common challenge—they demand substantial upfront capital. To facilitate a rapid transition to a net-zero economy, we need to break down investment barriers. One promising solution is Green Targeted Long Term Refinancing Operations (TLTROs). Proposed by experts like Positive Money Europe, these Green TLTROs would offer banks reduced interest rates for green lending, ensuring low-cost funding for environmentally friendly projects. This approach not only counters inflationary pressures but also aligns with our moral duty to foster a sustainable future.
These stressors, which drive long-term climate-based inflation, include climateflation, representing the damage caused to our economy's productive capacity by rising sea levels that destroy transport infrastructure. The second stressor, fossilflation, is the simple cost of transitioning away from fossil fuels themselves and building renewable energy.
Finally, greenflation is the rise in price brought about by the transition to a carbon-neutral economy. Investment in new production practices, machinery and technologies require significant business costs. Like crude oil the commodities, which will fuel the green transition such as lithium and copper, are volatile and require long- term capital investments to meet demand.
Ultimately, the common factor underlying these stressors is their capital-intensive nature. Thus, investments in ‘green’ projects require low interest rates to incentivise their development, as they require large amounts of upfront cash. Any short- term tightening in monetary policy will result in the underinvestment in capital intensive green projects. Now more than ever we need to reduce barriers to investment to enable a rapid net zero transition.
Positive Money Europe and other green monetary policy experts have tabled Green TLTROs as a method to keep interest rates low for green investment. Currently TLTROs offer banks lower interest rates for offering loans to nonfinancial businesses and households. These discounts are up to 50 basis points below the average interest rate in the deposit facility. Put simply, the ECB and other central banks should implement green TLTROs. These TLTROs would offer lower interest rates to banks that engage in green lending. Thereby preventing green investments experiencing the current credit crunch.
On a purely pragmatic plane, this unconventional monetary policy action would prevent long term climate based inflationary pressures, of climateflation, fossilflation and greenflation. More pressingly, on a moral plane, we must seek to ensure all our institutions work to promote a net zero transition, for the planet and the future longevity of all its peoples.
13 October 2023
Youth Ambassadors Shine at MENA Climate Week
Two students from Zayed Sustainability Prize-winning schools, Sultan Al Khalifa and Lama Al Maraj, displayed unwavering dedication during MENA Climate Week 2023 (MENACW 2023) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia from 8-12 October. In an era defined by climate challenges, these young ambassadors demonstrated the indispensable power of youth as catalysts for positive change.
Bahrain Bayan School, a nonprofit K-12 bilingual institution, leveraged Prize funds to develop EcoLab 360, a learning platform dedicated to sustainable practices and technologies. It champions the five R's: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Raise awareness and Renewable energy.
The Prize's Youth Ambassadors are committed to actively involving young people, influencing the formulation of forthcoming Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), and highlighting the importance of intergenerational collaboration in addressing climate change.
At the event, Bahrain Bayan School's Youth Ambassadors engaged in a cross-generational dialogue, emphasising the pivotal role of youth in propelling climate action. Their contributions encompassed thought-provoking panel discussions titled "Youth Stocktake: Where are we now?" and "Youth Leadership in Policymaking to Accelerate Climate Action in MENA."
Including these young change-makers underscored the recognition of their pivotal role in shaping policies, advocating for climate action, and working toward a sustainable future. This significant event not only showcased their dedication but also exemplified the enduring impact of the Zayed Sustainability Prize in nurturing environmental stewardship among future generations.
Bahrain Bayan School's students' involvement at MENA Climate Week serves as a resounding call to action for the global community. It reinforces that youth engagement is not merely an aspiration but a tangible reality, essential for achieving climate objectives and securing a sustainable planet for all.
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