No matter how many buildings, foundations, schools, and hospitals we raise, all these are material entities. The real spirit behind the progress is the human spirit. Sheikh Zayed Humanitarian and Sustainability Pioneer The UAE’s Founding Father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan was known for being a visionary leader whose contributions changed the course of history for the UAE, the Gulf region, and the wider world.

He looked beyond the borders of the UAE, providing support to those who needed it most, regardless of geography, race, gender or religion.

The UAE's deep-rooted sustainability values are due largely to Sheikh Zayed’s commitment to conservation and protection, and many of the programmes that he initiated to preserve the environment are still in place today.

Paying tribute to his legacy, the Prize has been recognising and rewarding sustainability pioneers since 2008.
WHAT IS THE PRIZE? The Zayed Sustainability Prize is the UAE’s pioneering global award that recognises and rewards small and medium enterprises (SMEs), nonprofit organisations (NPOs), and global high schools with impactful, innovative, and inspiring sustainable solutions.

The Prize honours the humanitarian and sustainability legacy of the UAE’s founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. To date, we have awarded 117 winners and through them we have transformed the lives of 384 million people.
Our Prize Categories Our Winners
NEWS 24 January 2024 Nkhata Bay's Solar Triumph 2014 Zayed Sustainability Prize Winners in the Global High Schools category, Sub-Saharan Africa   By Principal George Kulaso   Our school, the Nkhata Bay Authority in Malawi, was the winner of the Zayed Sustainability Prize in the Global High Schools (Sub-Saharan Africa region). This was an honour not just for our school, but indeed for our entire community.    Last December, our school's delegation had the honour of attending the Prize Awards Ceremony at COP28 UAE. Joyce Mhango and Mary Zayed had the distinct privilege of highlighting the transformative impact that the Prize has had on our entire community. I then joined them in thanking the UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan for his support.   We shared the profound impact winning the Prize had on our community. A testament to this was Joyce's story of how Mary received her name in honour of Sheikh Zayed, being one of the first babies born in a well-lit health clinic, a direct benefit of our Prize victory.   For some context as to why this meant so much to us, Malawi is one of the least electrified countries in the world with only 5 percent of rural communities having access to power and electricity.   Winning the Prize enabled us to build the Zayed Solar Academy – the very first solar academy in Malawi targeting rural youth and women.   The Zayed Solar Academy initiated the formation of a solar curriculum in collaboration with the Malawi government. We are now a national college specialising in solar PV technologies, recruiting youth around the country.    We are working towards becoming a centre for excellence for solar technologies and research.    Thank you, Sheikh Zayed.   Read More 19 January 2024 Architect of Change: A Youth Activist's Journey at COP28 I'm Harry Rostron, a youth climate activist and third-year student studying Architecture and Environmental Engineering at the University of the West of England. As a Zayed Sustainability Prize Youth Ambassador, I had the privilege of participating in COP28 this past year, an event which left an impression on me and altered my perspective of the climate movement. Growing up in Indonesia I developed a love for island nations and a personal mission to protect the most vulnerable countries against a rapidly changing climate. When I learned that a historic agreement was reached on the operationalisation of the Loss and Damage Fund on the first day of the conference, I knew that COP28 was going to go down in history. With over $700 million pledged, the fund marks a critical starting point for bridging the gap between the global North and South. The invitation to serve as a Youth Ambassador at COP28 was especially exciting for me, as it opened doors to numerous speaking engagements, a rarity for someone my age. I engaged in constructive dialogue over subjects I feel deeply connected to with people at the centre of the topics.  During the Conference of Youth, I was part of a panel where young people discussed their schools’ sustainability initiatives, focusing on the challenges and innovative solutions we encountered. Later, I participated in a panel that highlighted the need for inclusive digitisation and equitable access, while emphasising the integration of sustainable practices across industries. This talk reinforced the critical role of emerging generations in driving transformative change. I am very proud of my contributions at COP28 where I, as a young person, was encouraged to share my thoughts and actively participate in shaping a better future. My journey as a changemaker, uniquely positioned at the vital nexus of architecture and sustainability, has been profoundly defined and sharpened by the insightful discussions I engaged in at this pivotal event, which stands at the core of the climate crisis. Witnessing history in the making at COP28 has left a huge impression on me. The pressing need for transformation in our energy-intensive built environments is clear, and it begins with a field that has captivated me for the past five years: architecture. Engaging with many experts at COP28 has solidified my belief in the urgency of integrating sustainable practices into architecture and construction. This revelation, alongside the significant outcomes on Loss & Damage, stands as one of my most impactful takeaways from the conference.  The voice of the youth is powerful and is now being heard loud across the globe due in part to the increasing inclusivity of COPs. I have been truly inspired by my own generation’s drive to enact meaningful change, and I left the conference with a newfound hope and optimism for the future of our shared planet.      Read More 20 December 2023 Zayed Sustainability Prize opens submissions for 2025 cycle Small and medium enterprises, nonprofit organisations and high schools are invited to submit entries before the 23 June 2024 deadline   Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 20 December 2023: The Zayed Sustainability Prize, the UAE’s pioneering global sustainability and humanitarian award, has officially announced that the 2025 cycle is now open for submissions.   Submissions will be accepted until 23 June 2024 through the Prize’s online portal. Small to medium enterprises (SMEs), nonprofit organisations (NPOs) and high schools with sustainable solutions are invited to submit an entry for consideration in one of the six categories of Heath, Food, Energy, Water, Climate Action and Global High Schools.   Commenting on the launch of the 2025 submissions cycle, 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: “Since 2008, the Zayed Sustainability Prize has honoured the legacy of Sheikh Zayed by fostering inclusive sustainable and humanitarian development around the world. In this decisive decade for climate change, these values are more important than ever. I am optimistic that the Prize will contribute to global climate action in line with the UAE Consensus, which will pave the way toward an effective response to the Global Stocktake decision.”    In response to the pressing climate crisis, and to further support the UAE’s efforts to accelerate practical solutions needed to drive climate action and uplift vulnerable communities around the world, the Prize has increased its funds from US $3.6 million to US $5.9 million. The Prize will reward US $1 million to each winner in the organisational categories of Health, Food, Energy, Water and Climate Action. Within the Global High Schools category, which is split into six world regions, each school can claim up to US $150,000 to start or further expand their project. The six world regions of the Global High Schools category are The Americas, Europe & Central Asia, Middle East & North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and East Asia & Pacific.  The most recent Zayed Sustainability Prize winners were recognised at an Awards Ceremony held during COP28 UAE.   To encourage a broader range of organisations and high schools to participate, the Prize will be accepting submissions in multiple languages, including Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish, and Portuguese. This will ensure that innovative solutions from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds can be recognised.   For the Health, Food, Energy, Water and Climate Action categories, organisations should prove that they are improving access to essential products or services in their targeted communities and are able to implement a long-term vision for better living and working conditions. For the Global High Schools category, projects should be led by students, and must demonstrate innovative approaches to address sustainability challenges.   The evaluation of each submission to the Prize consists of a rigorous, three-stage process. First, due diligence is conducted on all submissions to ensure that they meet the Prize’s evaluation criteria of Impact, Innovation, and Inspiration. This identifies the qualified entries and results in the selection of eligible candidates. Following this, evaluations are undertaken by a Selection Committee consisting of category-specific panels of independent international experts. From this shortlist of candidates, the finalists are chosen and then sent to the Prize Jury who unanimously elect the winners across all six categories.     Winners of the Zayed Sustainability Prize will be announced at an Awards Ceremony during the 2025 Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW).     Read More 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.       Read More View All TIMELINE Stay updated on the current Prize cycle. Submissions
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