By Ron Chen, Senior Correspondent ASEAN Region
The UAE’s pioneering global award for recognising organisations and high schools with sustainability solutions, Middle East and North Africa has officially announced that the 2023 cycle is now open for submissions.
Entries will be accepted until 6 July 2022 through the Prize’s online portal. Small to medium enterprises, non-profit organisations and high schools with sustainability solutions are invited to submit an entry for consideration in one of the five categories of Heath, Food, Energy, Water and Global High Schools.
The Prize’s 2022 award cycle received a record-breaking 4,000 applications, marking a significant 68.5 per cent increase in submissions compared to the previous cycle, from a record 151 countries.
Commenting on the launch of the 2023 submissions cycle, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and Director-General of the Zayed Sustainability Prize H.E. Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber said: “For the past 14 years, the Prize has proudly delivered on its goal of recognising and rewarding the achievements of those who are driving impactful, innovative and inspiring sustainability solutions. As we continue to build on this legacy, we look forward to awarding the next cadre of sustainability pioneers, who will drive real environmental and social change and generate an even greater positive impact on the world.”
H.E. Al Jaber added, “Young people remain an integral focus for the Prize and we are committed to empowering even greater numbers of future sustainability leaders by providing them with a platform to turn their bold ideas into reality through our Global High Schools category.”
“The Zayed Sustainability Prize continues to be a steadfast partner and thought leader in international sustainable development. By amplifying the critical work being done globally in health, energy, food and water, and facilitating the delivery of these solutions to vulnerable communities around the world through the Prize winners, we have helped transform the lives of more than 370 million people.”
The Prize’s US$3 million annual fund rewards winners US$600,000 in each category. The Global High Schools category is split into six world region winners, with each school able to claim up to US$100,000 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.
Inspired by the sustainability and humanitarian legacy of the UAE’s founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Prize has, to date, recognised a total of 96 winners whose solutions or student-led school projects have positively transformed the lives of millions.
While the submission forms vary per category, core elements of each entry lie in the innovative, impactful and inspirational ways in which the proposed technology, applications and solutions aim to transform people’s lives for the better.
For the Health, Food, Energy, and Water categories, organisations should demonstrate that they are improving access to essential products or services and have a long-term vision for improved living and working conditions. For the Global High Schools category, their projects should be student–led, with emphasis placed on the students being actively involved in the planning, implementation, and monitoring processes.
The Zayed Sustainability Prize has a three-stage evaluation process, beginning with the due diligence conducted by an independent research and analysis consultancy. 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 five categories.
Winners will be announced in 2023 during an Awards Ceremony as part of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW).