Following its 11th annual awards ceremony, held in January, the Zayed Sustainability Prize, the UAE's pioneering global award in sustainability, entered a four-month submissions phase for the 2020 awards, which closed on 30th May with a record 2,373 completed submissions; a 13 per cent increase over the previous year.
Of the entries received, the breakdown across the Prize’s five categories was: Health (514), Food (570), Energy (522), Water (377), and Global High Schools (390). With an overall increase in submissions, last year’s decision to expand the Prize’s recognition of sustainability categories, alongside energy, continues to prove that the global trend for addressing an increasing number of sustainability priorities is growing.
From the 2,373 submissions received, the top five countries by submissions were Nigeria, UAE, USA, Colombia, and India. The top three world regions were Africa, Asia, and the Americas. In the Prize’s home market of the UAE, submissions from organisations and high schools saw a significant increase of 86 per cent.
H.E. Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and Director General of the Prize, said: “Inspired by the legacy of the UAE’s founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Prize continues to demonstrate the UAE’s commitment to promoting sustainability and humanitarianism.”
“It is encouraging to note the immediate impact that has been made since the Prize aligned itself more closely with the UN Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs], with the introduction of the revised categories last year. For the 2020 awards, this upward trend in both entry numbers and global reach has continued. I look forward to learning more about this year’s most innovative, impactful and inspiring sustainability solutions, during the evaluation stage.”
A key trend, noted in the 2020 awards submissions data, is that emerging market organisations and high schools are making significant strides across multiple sustainability sectors. This is reflected in the 74 per cent of this year’s entries coming from emerging economies that are increasingly investing in the development of both innovative technologies and their communities.
In addition to its global reach, equally impressive year-on-year growth was specifically noted across the Prize’s Health, Food, and Water categories. This was also true in the Global High Schools category, which saw the highest growth rates – a 232 per cent increase, across the Middle East and North Africa region, and a 32 per cent rise, worldwide.
For the 2020 awards, 390 completed submissions were received from high schools, up from 295 last year. Submission numbers for the six world regions were: The Americas (115), Sub-Saharan Africa (106), Middle East & North Africa (93), Europe & Central Asia (26), South Asia (14), and East Asia and Pacific (36).
Following the close of the submissions, the Prize enters the evaluation stage. All entries will now be shortlisted by an independent research and analysis consultancy. A Selection Committee comprised of globally renowned industry experts will then assess the shortlisted entries and choose the finalists. The third and final tier of the evaluation process is the Jury, which will meet in Abu Dhabi in October, to select the winners in each category.
Since its launch, in 2008, the US$3 million annual prize has, directly and indirectly, positively impacted 318 million lives. Its global reach continues to grow and act as a catalyst for other sustainable development initiatives, in many countries around the world. Each category winner receives a prize fund of US$600,000. The Global High Schools category winners split the amount among six high schools from six world regions, each receiving up to US$100,000.
The winners of the 2020 awards will be announced at the Prize’s 12th annual awards ceremony that will take place during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, on 13th January 2020.