Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and Director General of the Prize, said: “Over the last decade, the Prize has been a highly influential vehicle for leveraging the global sustainability vision and legacy of the UAE’s founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The Prize’s newly expanded mandate further enhances its ability to promote and recognize a truly diversified mix of sustainable solutions.”
“The natural evolution of the Prize, from a focus solely on energy, now sees it more closely aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the UAE’s National Agenda. This allows the Prize to reward a wider spectrum of innovative solutions and address an increased number of sustainability and human development challenges, including youth-related projects, from across the world.”
“The strong response from those submitting to this year’s Prize, across age groups and geography, demonstrates the global resonance of sustainable development as a critical issue of our time. As the evaluation phase gets underway, I look forward to witnessing the creative contribution, positive impact and practical results that will emerge from around the world as a result of the Zayed Sustainability Prize.”
On 17 April, 2018, the Prize announced that, after a decade of awarding innovation in renewable energy, the Zayed Future Energy Prize was to become the Zayed Sustainability Prize. This strategic refocus means that the Prize will now recognize a broader scope of sustainability solutions, alongside energy. The categories (Health, Food, Energy, Water and Global High Schools) now align more closely with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as the UAE’s National Agenda.
In the 10 years since its launch, the Prize has positively influenced the lives of over 307 million people and been a catalyst for sustainable development in many countries around the world.
This year saw a record number of submissions in terms of their countries of origin; rising from 112, in 2017, to 130 this year. The top five countries, by number of entries, were Nigeria, Kenya, USA, India, and Colombia. The largest spike in submissions, over the previous year, came from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia where the increase was a staggering 733 per cent. In the Prize’s home market of the UAE, submissions almost tripled, with entries for the new categories of Health, Food, and Water, representing just under half, or 42 per cent, of those received.
The exceptional response to the new categories is testimony to the Prize’s progressive decision to evolve and recognize additional sustainability innovations and solutions. It also reflects an increasing global awareness and collective commitment toward humanitarian efforts. Ensuring disadvantaged populations have access to a variety of sustainable development solutions will certainly foster healthier, more productive and self-sufficient societies.
This year also saw growth in the number of entries in the Global High Schools category, with 295 submissions received. Since the category’s introduction in 2012, over 3,270 students have been involved with the Prize, with the winners in this category directly responsible for a number of key achievements. These include offsetting 2,372 tons of carbon emissions, the generation of 3 million kWh of renewable energy, and making a positive impact on the lives of over 350,000 people around the world.
All Prize entries will now undergo a rigorous three-stage evaluation process, starting with the due diligence and criteria assessments conducted by an independent research and analysis firm. Secondly, the shortlist of qualified entries will be reviewed by a panel of industry experts that form the Selection Committee. The finalists will then be sent on to the Jury where the winners of the 2019 awards will be chosen. This year, the Jury is comprised of former heads of state, former prime ministers, as well as global leaders from various business sectors.
All winners will be announced at the Prize’s annual awards ceremony, held during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, on 14 January, 2019.