What is the Zayed Sus­tain­abil­ity Prize?

World in­no­va­tors chal­lenged to take on the most threat­en­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal prob­lems

The National - News - - BUSINESS -

IT HAS BEEN 11 years since the UAE launched an in­ter­na­tional prize to in­spire re­new­able en­ergy projects in the name of the Found­ing Fa­ther, Sheikh Zayed.

Built on the foun­da­tions of sus­tain­able growth, in­no­va­tion and de­vel­op­ment, the award has evolved from the Zayed Fu­ture En­ergy Prize into the Zayed Sus­tain­abil­ity Prize.

So far, sup­ported projects around the world in de­vel­op­ing coun­tries have touched the lives of more than 318 mil­lion peo­ple and un­earthed 76 win­ners.

A pas­sion for en­hanc­ing the fu­ture through ideas and hard work has united this spe­cial group of en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists.

The lat­est in­car­na­tion of the Zayed prize will sup­port five cat­e­gories – health, food, wa­ter, en­ergy and global high schools. Each cat­e­gory win­ner will be awarded $600,000 (Dh2.2 mil­lion).

With a to­tal prize fund of $3m, the award sets out to make a tan­gi­ble dif­fer­ence to com­mu­ni­ties and in­spire a new gen­er­a­tion of en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists.

Win­ners of the 2019 prize will be an­nounced to­day, at the open­ing of Abu Dhabi Sus­tain­abil­ity Week. Six schools from around the world are each hop­ing to scoop a $100,000 prize.

In­di­vid­ual projects are be­ing eval­u­ated on three cri­te­ria: their ef­fect on peo­ple’s lives; in­no­va­tion to bring trans­for­ma­tive change and in­spi­ra­tion; and the po­ten­tial to de­velop ideas into big­ger projects.

Schools have been asked to come up with so­lu­tions in the ar­eas of health, food, en­ergy or wa­ter, and the com­pe­ti­tion is aimed at pupils aged be­tween 11 and 19.

The health award will com­mend projects em­pow­er­ing com­mu­ni­ties by giv­ing ac­cess to af­ford­able med­i­cal care.

En­trants should be ac­tive in im­prov­ing ma­ter­nal and new­born health, or tack­ling epi­demics and ill­nesses re­sult­ing from pol­lu­tion or haz­ardous chem­i­cals.

The best projects will have a long-term vi­sion for change, and fo­cus on small or medium-sized en­ter­prises with an­nual rev­enue of less than $50m.

The food cat­e­gory is aimed at end­ing hunger and mal­nu­tri­tion, in­creas­ing agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tiv­ity, build­ing new sus­tain­able food pro­duc­tion sys­tems and pro­mot­ing seed type and an­i­mal pop­u­la­tion di­ver­sity.

En­ergy has been cen­tral to the Zayed prize since its in­cep­tion, and this year is no dif­fer­ent.

This cat­e­gory award will sup­port projects that im­prove en­ergy ef­fi­ciency and se­cu­rity, ex­pand in­fra­struc­ture and up­grade ac­ces­si­ble en­ergy sup­ply tech­nol­ogy.

A three-year drought in Cape Town, South Africa brought the is­sue of wa­ter short­ages sharply into fo­cus. Early last year, the cri­sis led to wa­ter ra­tioning of just 50 litres a per­son a day – half the av­er­age use of most Amer­i­cans.

Wa­ter is an­other key cat­e­gory of the 2019 Zayed Sus­tain­abil­ity Prize, to award the best so­lu­tions to what will be­come an in­creas­ing prob­lem in the near fu­ture for many global com­mu­ni­ties.

Projects il­lus­trat­ing the best so­lu­tions to im­prove wa­ter qual­ity, san­i­ta­tion and ef­fi­ciency, while pre­serv­ing wa­ter­re­lated ecosys­tems will be given the high­est award.

The projects have been eval­u­ated in a three-stage process by an in­ter­na­tional re­search and anal­y­sis com­pany, select com­mit­tee and a jury.

Reem Mo­hammed / The Na­tional

Two thou­sand so­lar lights in Abu Dhabi out­line the Zayed Sus­tain­abil­ity Prize logo

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