Dubai: His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, presented awards to the 10 winners of the 2022 Zayed Sustainability Prize on Monday at Expo 2020 Dubai.
The prize’s awards ceremony coincided with the start of the 2022 Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW). The ceremony was also attended by Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.
Sheikh Mohammed congratulated winners across the five categories, reaffirming the prize’s key role in realising the aspirations of participants to achieve sustainable development within their communities.
This year, the Zayed Sustainability Prize, along with ADSW, joined forces with Expo for hosting the ADSW opening ceremony and the 13th edition of the prize’s awards ceremony, both of which took place on Monday morning of Monday at Dubai Exhibition Centre at Expo. The event brought together thousands of attendees and more than 600 VIPs from around the world, including heads of state, government ministers, industry leaders and country ambassadors, among others.
Sheikh Mohammed said: “The UAE continues to make important strides and contributions to advancing the global sustainability agenda to stimulate economic and human sustainable development, under the leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The Zayed Sustainability Prize remains at the forefront of these efforts as it continues to set the course for alleviating hardships and improving lives by rewarding impact and innovation through a platform that can reach a much larger number of beneficiaries.”
Sheikh Mohammed highlighted the support, involvement and directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, while underscoring how the hosting of the awards ceremony at Expo, coupled with the recent announcement of the Principles of the 50, which marked the UAE’s Golden Jubilee last month, provide an optimal backdrop to this year’s awards, as all these national efforts share one single goal – to create a more sustainable future for all.
Sheikh Mohammed said: “Over the last 14 years, the wise and long-term vision and legacy of the UAE’s founding father, Sheikh Zayed [bin Sultan Al Nahyan], has ignited the passion of millions of sustainability pioneers the world over, inspiring us to take the prize to new heights by strengthening and diversifying its offerings to become the all-encompassing award it is today.”
The event was also attended by Lieutenant General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior; Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs; Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council; and Sheikh Nahayan bin Mabarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, in addition to various heads of state, ministers, and other senior-level dignitaries from the UAE and abroad, in addition to past winners, and the 2022 finalists.
About the prize
The $3 million (around Dh11 million) prize is the UAE’s pioneering sustainability award that recognises small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), non-profit organisations (NPOs), and global high schools for their innovative, impactful, and inspirational sustainability and humanitarian solutions.
Through its 86 former winners, the prize has transformed the lives of more than 370 million people, across 150 countries, since 2008. In the Health, Food, Energy, and Water categories, each winner receives $600,000 (around Dh2.2 million), while the Global High Schools category has six winners, representing six world regions, with each winner receiving up to $100,000 (around Dh367,000).
In terms of Global High School category, Sheikh Mohammed highlighted the importance of strengthening the youth’s capacity as a driving force for future sustainable development to shape tomorrow’s leaders and effectively empower them to play a larger role in advancing their impact on socio-cultural and economic development, in a rapidly changing world. On a broader level, Sheikh Mohammed also praised the level of foresight and sophistication that many of the student-led proposals displayed, noting their potential impact on an individual, community and global level.
In the Health category, Argentina’s Mamotest was awarded the prize for its efforts to increase access to diagnoses and life-saving services in tele-radiology and remote analysis.
S4S Technologies from India was the Food category winner for its important work in food preservation and dehydration systems.
In the Energy category, the winner, Bangladesh-based SOLshare, created an interconnected microgrid for peer-to-peer energy exchange networks to enable more efficient distribution of electricity across rural communities in the country.
Wateroam, an SME from Singapore, secured the Water category win for its commitment to tackling the global challenge of contaminated water through portable water filters to serve disaster-hit and rural communities.
The Chair of the Jury and former President of the Republic of Iceland, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, said: “The level of creativity, vision and potential scale outlined by this year’s winners has been truly remarkable and uplifting as the sustainability world looks to the future through a more challenging, yet determined prism. We are confident that all these winners will set the cornerstones for future economic growth and prosperity for vulnerable communities, within and beyond their borders, while also significantly contributing to key United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.”
Benefitting 370 million people
Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and Director-General of the Zayed Sustainability Prize, said: “Following the guidance of the UAE’s wise leadership and the enduring legacy of the late Sheikh Zayed, the prize continues to deliver real, meaningful, and long-term impact to numerous communities around the world. This has earned the prize a global reputation as a catalyst for change for over a decade, as it has to date, benefited the lives of more than 370 million people.”
Al Jaber added: “The hosting of the Zayed Sustainability Prize Awards Ceremony along with the opening of ADSW at Expo 2020 Dubai reinforces the UAE’s commitment to sustainable and humanitarian development, which characterises the country’s progressive, inclusive model for economic growth.
“Thanks to our current roster of 96 winners and their shared commitment to building a better world, communities who were living in the dark have been illuminated through essential solar lighting, millions of children are accessing safe drinking water, hunger and malnutrition are being combatted through sustainable food solutions, and access to life-saving healthcare in remote parts of the world is being optimised.”
The prize’s director-general concluded his remarks by underscoring the amplified impact and geographic reach that the Prize has achieved through the UAE-driven ‘Beyond2020’ humanitarian initiative. Beyond2020 has been donating critical sustainability solutions developed by past winners and finalists to vulnerable communities in various parts of the world, and in cooperation with several leading Emirati and international partners.
In the Global High Schools category, six schools, each representing a world region, receive an award and high schools submit project proposals to build or augment a solution they developed for their school or local community.
The recipients of the 2022 awards are Instituto Iberia (Dominican Republic), representing The Americas; Liceo Europeo (Spain), representing Europe and Central Asia; Eastern Mediterranean School (Israel), representing the Middle East and North Africa region; Sayidina Abubakar Secondary School (Uganda), representing Sub-Saharan Africa; Hira School (Maldives), representing South Asia, and finally, UWC ISAK (Japan) from the East Asia & Pacific region.