ABU DHABI: President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan today presented the 10 winners of the 2023 Zayed Sustainability Prize.
The award ceremony coincides with the start of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) 2023.
Notable recipients include a nonprofit in Brazil that provides surgery to indigenous communities in the Amazon, a small business that develops energy solutions for refugees in Jordan, and a nonprofit that ensures access to safe drinking water for vulnerable coastal communities in Bangladesh. A French company that is developing insect proteins for food and nutrition was also awarded in the food category.
Each winner will share in the US$3 million (AED11 million) prize, which was announced at the official opening of ADSW.
Lieutenant General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, also attended the ceremony; Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Presidency, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Al Nahyan; Sheikh Theab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council; Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan; Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan , Special Affairs Adviser to the Presidential Courts Department; Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence; and some sheikhs and senior officials.
Furthermore, in addition to past winners and 2023 finalists, the meeting will be attended by Heads of State, Ministers and other senior dignitaries from the UAE and abroad.
Sheikh Mohammed congratulated the winners in the five categories, reiterating the award’s role as a global catalyst for sustainable development and humanitarian action.
In his speech at the award ceremony, Sheikh Mohamed said: “The UAE continues to lead important global initiatives that are at the heart of our mission to create a better future for all in the UAE and beyond. The ambition of the Zayed Sustainability Prize Aspiration remains at the top of these efforts. It creates pathways to deliver life-changing humanitarian aid and solutions to communities around the world.”
Sheikh Mohamed emphasized that this year marks the 15th anniversary of the award and it will also be a historic year for the UAE as it prepares to host the 28th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) (COP28) change). Against this backdrop, this year’s awards serve as a reminder of the need for greater international cooperation to mobilize climate action and create sustainable economic and social development opportunities in all countries, including in the global South.
The President continued: “Over the past 15 years, the Zayed Sustainability Prize has successfully continued the legacy of Sheikh Zayed, the founding father of the UAE, and carried forward his bold humanitarian vision to secure the resources of our great nation Harnessing the benefits of all people. Today, the Zayed Sustainability Prize is an internationally recognized award that mobilizes innovators, social entrepreneurs and young people to accelerate positive change for our planet and all people.”
$3 million prize pool
The $3 million prize is the UAE’s ground-breaking global award in sustainability, recognizing and rewarding small and medium-sized enterprises around the world delivering impactful, innovative and inspiring solutions in health, food, energy and water , nonprofits, and high schools.
Since 2008, the award has changed the lives of more than 378 million people around the world through its 96 past recipients, including Vietnam, Nepal, Sudan, Ethiopia, Maldives and Tuvalu. In the Health, Food, Energy and Water category, winners receive US$600,000 each, while the Global High School category has six winners representing six regions of the world, each receiving up to US$100,000.
Sheikh Mohammed also highlighted the need to develop bright young people into future critical thinkers and sustainability leaders, and commended the award’s Global High School category, which empowers youth in supporting the socio-economic development of their communities. Play an active role.
In the health category, Brazil’s Associação Expedicionários da Saúde (EDS) was awarded for its mobile general hospital, which provides specialized medical and surgical care to indigenous communities geographically isolated from the Amazon. The goal of the Mobile General Hospital is to reach the most difficult areas of the Amazon, guaranteeing the safety and comfort of the patients and the excellent quality of the services provided. Over the course of six expeditions from 2015 to 2022, the nonprofit performed more than 1,900 surgeries and improved health outcomes, including improved vision after cataract surgery.
Ÿnsect from France has won an award in the food category for its important work on insect-based proteins and natural fertilizers. The SME produces insect protein and natural insect fertilizers in Europe’s first insect factory equipped with innovative vertical farming and integrated biorefinery. Ÿnsect processes two types of insects (Tenebrio molitor and Buffalo mealworm) into high-end, high-value ingredients suitable for the entire food chain – plants, fish, farmed animals, pets and humans. Ÿnsect is currently building a new factory in France and operates two other factories in France and the Netherlands. By 2025, Ÿnsect will be able to produce more than 1,500 tons of protein per month.
Over the past five years, Ÿnsect has improved the lives of 30 million people by providing sustainable, natural, high-quality nutritional products for the fish farming industry (as an alternative fish feed to meet the food supply needs of the aquaculture industry) and human nutrition. The demonstration plant currently operated by the company produces 30 tons of protein per month.
In the energy category, Jordan-based NeuroTech has developed artificial intelligence-based algorithms and blockchain-based transaction systems to provide reliable energy supplies to refugee camps. SME employs the concept of energy sharing by splitting electrical loads into low-priority and high-priority flows. Thus, beneficiaries are guaranteed access to their life-saving energy and, depending on energy availability, additional energy will be used on low-priority feeders. Advanced energy management and control can reduce electricity stress and increase consumer electricity awareness.
During the pilot phase, NeuroTech helped provide electricity to more than 10,000 Syrian refugees in Azraq. By optimizing energy use and distribution, NeuroTech provides 24/7 power, helping to reduce the pressure on the camp hospital’s main respiratory department. Patients can now use a personal nebulizer, a medical device used during the COVID-19 pandemic for people with chronic respiratory conditions.
LEDARS (Local Environmental Development and Agricultural Research Association), a non-profit organization from Bangladesh, won the water award for its integrated water resource management model to address water scarcity in disaster-prone areas. Their technology portfolio has helped transform communities in Bangladesh, enabling access to safe drinking water and climate-smart livelihoods.
With support from LEDARS, Bangladeshi communities installed 5,250 biosand filters, 65 pond filters, 185 rainwater harvesting systems and 69 conservation ponds, supporting year-round rice and vegetable cultivation on land that was previously barren. The LEDARS program created access to safe drinking water for at least 15,881 households. Over 12 million gallons of water have been saved as a result of this solution.
Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, Chairman of the Jury and former President of the Republic of Iceland, said: “This year’s laureates have demonstrated new creativity and ambition in their solutions to pressing global challenges. We believe that These honorees will have a meaningful and scalable impact on communities around the world, accelerating progress towards important climate action goals to help ensure a sustainable future for all.”
Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and Director-General of the Zayed Sustainability Prize, said: “Since our country’s wise leadership established the Zayed Sustainability Prize 15 years ago, the Prize has become a major pillar of the UAE’s vision. Supporters drive inclusive climate action and sustainable development internationally.By delivering real-world solutions for sustainable development to disadvantaged communities around the world, the award recognizes Sheikh Zayed’s contribution to social good and elevates global human beings.”
He added: “Our 106 honorees are driving action on the world’s most pressing challenges. Through their commitment to advocating for positive action, millions of people in developing countries who do not have access to energy, water, healthcare or food People now have opportunities for sustainable economic and social development, including access to quality education, decent jobs, opportunities for economic growth and improved livelihoods.
“As the UAE prepares to host COP28 later this year, the Zayed Sustainability Prize serves as an important reminder of the UAE’s commitment to accelerate the practical solutions needed to help society mitigate and adapt to climate change.”
Since 2013, the award has been awarded to 46 high schools in the global high school category from countries around the world. Students from these schools were awarded for autonomous project proposals that were later implemented by youth. In total, they generated 7.2 million kWh of electricity, avoided 5,700 tons of CO2 emissions, and positively impacted 427,408 people in the community.
The winners of the 2023 Global High School Awards are Fundacion Bios Terrae – ICAM Ubate (Colombia), representing the Americas; Romain-Rolland-Gymnasium (Germany), representing Europe and Central Asia; School for Gifted Students (Iraq), representing the Middle East and North Africa region; UWC East Africa – Arusha Campus (Tanzania), representing sub-Saharan Africa; Dhaka Residential Model College (Bangladesh), representing South Asia, and finally Kamil Muslim College (Fiji), representing South Asia.
Winners were selected from among 4,538 individuals—a record number of submissions—by a panel of more than 40 experts. The jury included former President of the Republic of Iceland Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, UAE Minister and Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson, INSEAD Chairman Andreas Dr. Jacobs, Jacobs Family Council, et al.
– According to the opinion of Emirates News Agency WAM