Addressing some of the world’s most pressing and core development challenges, and aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, 2030, the finalists of the Zayed Sustainability Prize are now vying to win up to ten awards, across five categories: Health, Food, Energy, Water, and Global High Schools.
This year, innovations presented by the finalists entail sustainable solutions for a range of key areas such as nutrition, healthcare, energy and disaster relief – through a variety of technologies which include artificial intelligence, biotech, internet of things, phone apps, drones, community infrastructure and affordable payment platforms.
Many of these are integrated with impactful long-term programmes and mechanisms like practical skills training, social entrepreneurialism and gender empowerment.
Such solutions have never been more critical; especially as the Sustainable Development Goals Report 2019 warns that a much deeper, faster and more ambitious response is required to unleash the social and economic transformation needed to achieve the 2030 goals.
The report further suggests that global challenges persist, including entrenched deprivation from basic human needs - such as food, water, healthcare and reliable energy access – in addition to widespread vulnerabilities to the ever-rising prevalence of natural disasters and other ramifications of climate change.
Commenting on the announcement, Dr. Sultan bin Ahmad Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State and Director-General of the Zayed Sustainability Prize, said, "Year on year, the UAE has taken a leading global role in sustainability – by engaging with, recognising and supporting impact-driven solutions that tackle ongoing humanitarian challenges. This approach is closely aligned with the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals and the UAE’s 2021 Vision – both of which are reflected in the objectives of the Zayed Sustainability Prize and its five core categories."
He added, "We are deeply inspired by the bold solutions and resolute mindset of previous winners – who have collectively gone on to effect real change to the lives of over 318 million people since winning the Prize. Similarly, we will remain true to the values inspired by Sheikh Zayed and his legacy, by continuing to champion like-minded pioneers – with an aim to further facilitate long-term, sustainable development."
The announcement of the 2020 finalists took place on the sidelines of the Prize’s Jury Meeting, the third and final stage of its annual evaluation process. The 12-member Prize Jury is a distinguished complement of former heads of state from Mexico and Iceland, a former prime minister of the Republic of Korea, UAE government ministers and representatives, and internationally-renowned businesspersons.
In the Health, Food, Energy, and Water categories, each winner receives US$600,000. The Global High Schools category has six winners, representing six world regions, with each winner receiving up to US$100,000.
Chair of the Jury and former President of the Republic of Iceland, Olafur Grimsson, commented, "Over the last 11 years, the Prize has been at the forefront of recognising and rewarding innovative, impactful and inspirational sustainability solutions. With another record year, in terms of global entries, we have been deeply encouraged by the calibre of the submissions, which has made the process of selecting the winners both challenging yet exciting."
The Health Category finalists are: GLOBHE (Sweden), One Family Health (Rwanda), and GiftedMom (Cameroon). Food Category finalists: INMED (USA), Thriving Green (Germany), and Okuafo Foundation (Ghana). Energy Category finalists: Kingo Energy (Guatemala), Electricians Without Borders (France), and SolarKiosk (Germany).
The Global High Schools Category finalists for each region are: The Americas – Escola Sesi Djalma Pessoa (Brazil), Bachilleratto General Oficial "Netahualcoyotl" (Mexico), and Air Batalla (Colombia). Sub-Saharan Africa – Koforidua Senior High Technical school (Ghana), Hakimi Aliya Day Secondary (Nigeria), and Mpesa Foundation academy (Kenya). middle East & North Africa – The Philippine Global School (United Arab Emirates), Umm Al-Arab School (UAE) and Al Amal Junior High School (Morocco).
Europe and Central Asia – Romain-Rolland-Gymnasium (Germany), United World College – Mostar (Bosnia and Herzegovina), and School N22 (Uzbekistan). South Asia – Bloom Nepal School (Nepal), Delhi Public School (India), and The BlinkNow Foundation (Nepal). East Asia & Pacific – Otago Girls’ High School (New Zealand), Kamil Muslim College (Fiji), and Eutan Tarawa Ieta Junior Secondary School (Kiribati).
As the UAE’s pioneering global award for recognising sustainable and humanitarian development, a total of 76 winners have, directly and indirectly, impacted over 318 million lives since the Prize was established in 2008. This year, in its twelfth annual awards cycle, the Prize received a record 2,373 entries from 129 countries.