The Zayed Sustainability Prize is now open for submissions for its 2020 edition. The United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) pioneering global award for rewarding innovation, impact and inspiration in sustainable development solutions, is inviting organisations and schools, across Asia, to submit their entries in one of its five categories: Health, Food, Energy, Water and Global High Schools. Entries will close on 30 May 2019.
Inspired by the sustainability and humanitarian legacy of the UAE’s founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the prize has recognised winners’ solutions that have delivered direct and indirect positive impact to more than 318 million people around the world since its establishment in 2008. Formerly known as the Zayed Future Energy Prize, in April 2018 the prize extended its scope from an initial focus on energy to incorporate broader global sustainability priorities.
Past winners of the Zayed Sustainability Prize include India’s SECMOL and Kalkeri Sangeet Vidyalaya schools, IDEI, and Orb Energy. Last year, Singapore-based company ECOSOFTT went home with the US$600,000 prize funding in the Water Category, for innovating to increase water sustainability in Singapore and in rural communities beyond.
The Prize’s five categories are designed to align closely with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In addition to rewarding small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), non-profit organisations (NPOs) and similar organisations, for their empowering solutions to disadvantaged communities, the Prize’s Global High Schools category also looks to inspire the world’s youth, to become the next generation of sustainability leaders.
Speaking on the significance of the Asia region in driving global sustainability solutions, Dr. Lamya Fawwaz, Director of the Zayed Sustainability Prize, said: “The momentum for sustainable development is gaining pace in Asia, as more and more countries are increasingly aware of the need to intensify efforts in relation to the sustainability of its communities and cities.”
“The quality of entries we have received from Asia, over the past few years, reflects the pioneering work being done across the continent to harness new technologies and implement innovative and sustainable solutions that align with the humanitarian impact the Prize seeks to affect,” Dr. Lamya added.
While entries vary in scope, examples of winning solutions and school projects include: facilitating access to healthcare technologies, in rural regions; improving food security and encouraging sustainable agriculture; delivering greater access to energy for off-grid communities; offering affordable clean drinking water and sanitation solutions; as well as enhancing education, training and advocacy.
The Zayed Sustainability Prize’s robust, three-stage evaluation proces begins with the independent due diligence conducted by a reputed international research and analysis consultancy. Following this, the shortlisted entries undergo evaluation by a Selection Committee of industry specialists to determine the finalists. From this list, the Prize Jury selects the winners, in all five categories. For the Global High Schools category, the award is divided into six winners, across six world regions. They are: The Americas, Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East & North Africa, Europe & Central Asia, South Asia, and East Asia & Pacific.
In order for organisations to be considered for the Prize, in the Health, Food, Energy, and Water category, each solution must demonstrate it meets the three core evaluation criteria:
- Impact: Significant and tangible outcomes on the quality of people’s lives.
- Innovation: Distinctive characteristics to change the “status quo” and potential to catalyse opportunities that will have a disruptive positive impact and transformative change.
- Inspiration: The potential to scale up project outcomes, over the next decade, with the ability to inspire others to adopt a more sustainable worldview.
For the Global High Schools category, projects may be in the conceptual stage, rather than already active, and they should also be designed to deliver positive educational impact, including providing access to quality education and ensuring students are given key skills and enhanced abilities to achieve their goals. The school projects should be inspired by the four themes from the other categories; therefore, based on resolving challenges in Health, Food, Energy, or Water.
Winners of the Zayed Sustainability Prize 2020 will be announced at the annual awards ceremony, to be held during the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, in January next year.