Dubai: President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Friday honored the winners of the Zayed Sustainability Prize at a ceremony held as part of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) organized by the United Arab Emirates at Expo City Dubai.
The ceremony was attended by numerous heads of delegations participating in COP28, ministers, senior government officials and award winners and finalists.
Sheikh Mohamed congratulated the winners, praised their efforts to promote sustainability and encouraged them to continue their important contributions in this field. Sheikh Mohamed emphasized that the UAE remains steadfast in building on its established legacy of sustainability, a foundation laid by the country’s founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. In this regard, Sheikh Mohamed highlighted the important role of the Zayed Sustainability Prize in promoting sustainable development, service to humanity and empowering innovators, entrepreneurs and youth to actively contribute to making a positive difference for our planet.
106 winners, 384 million lives impacted
The Zayed Prize for Sustainability aims to perpetuate the legacy of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan by honoring and supporting small and medium-sized businesses, non-profit organizations and secondary schools that offer sustainable solutions that address challenges in health, nutrition, energy, water, and climate. For more than 15 years, the Prize has positively impacted the lives of 384 million people around the world through the innovative solutions presented by its 106 winners.
The Zayed Sustainability Prize also focuses on promoting youth engagement in sustainability through its Global High Schools category, which encourages young people to play active roles in supporting their communities and leading future sustainability efforts. The winners in this category, 47 global high schools, have positively impacted the lives of more than 55,186 students and 453,887 people in their local communities.
The eleven winners of this year’s edition were unanimously selected in September by the jury after a thorough review of all candidates to evaluate their contributions and commitment to presenting innovative, impactful and inspiring solutions in several award categories, including Health, Food, Energy and Water. , Climate Action and Global High Schools.
During the ceremony, Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, Director General of the Zayed Sustainability Prize and President of COP28, said: “In line with the vision and direction of the leaders, the Prize Zayed to Sustainability has been contributing to inclusive sustainable development and promoting climate action for more than 15 years. Today, the UAE reaffirms its commitment to spur action to mitigate the impacts of climate change, empower communities in need of support and create positive change in the world, especially in the Global South.”
Pioneers in climate action
Among the winners in the Climate Action category is Kelp Blue Namibia, recognized for its ambitious efforts in cultivating extensive deep-sea kelp forests. The company has contributed to the restoration of ocean biodiversity and sequestration of 100,000 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere annually, in addition to creating job opportunities in coastal communities.
In the Health category, the Indonesian organization DoctorSHARE was awarded for its pioneering work in providing medical care to remote and hard-to-reach areas through its floating hospitals. The organization has had a widespread positive impact and has treated more than 160,000 patients.
Palestine’s Gaza Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture Platform (GUPAP) was the winner in the Food category, praised for its contributions to supporting Gaza’s agricultural sector. This non-profit organization facilitates access to locally produced food and has provided employment opportunities to approximately 200 women in agriculture, benefiting more than 7,000 people.
In the Energy category, Rwanda’s Ignite Power was recognized for its significant efforts to provide affordable electricity to remote communities in sub-Saharan Africa. The company has provided solar energy solutions to 2.5 million people through a pay-as-you-go model, thus avoiding 600,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. They have also introduced innovative solar-powered irrigation solutions, creating 3,500 employment opportunities in local communities.
In the Water category, the French non-profit organization Eau Et Vie was awarded for ensuring access to drinking water in impoverished areas by installing water taps directly in homes in urban regions. The organization has facilitated water access for 52,000 people in 27 neighborhoods in 10 cities, raised awareness of health practices among 66,000 people, and reduced water costs by 75 percent.
The winners of the Global High Schools awards are Colegio De Alto Rendimiento De La Libertad (Peru), representing the Americas; the Gwani Ibrahim Dan Hajja Academy (Nigeria), representing sub-Saharan Africa; International School (Morocco), representing the Middle East North Africa; Northfleet Technology College (United Kingdom), representing Europe Central Asia; KORT Education Complex (Pakistan), representing South Asia; and finally, Beijing No. 35 High School (China), representing East Asia Pacific.
Jury President and former President of the Republic of Iceland, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, said: “This year’s winners have demonstrated a remarkable wave of ingenuity in their solutions to address pressing global challenges. “We are confident that these winners will catalyze substantial, scalable change in communities around the world, propelling us toward vital climate action goals and forging a path toward a sustainable future for all.”