Gaza farming platform among Zayed Sustainability Prize winners announced at Cop28

Eleven winners announced across six categories will share increased prize fund of $5.9 million

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A platform empowering female farmers to bolster food security in their communities in Gaza was among the winners announced at the Zayed Sustainability Prize ceremony on Friday.

President Sheikh Mohamed and several high-level guests attended Expo City Dubai to see 11 winners announced across six categories.

The winners will share a total prize fund of $5.9 million - boosted on Friday from $3.6m - for their pioneering solutions to transform lives and drive economic and environmental change around the world.

The awards ceremony at Al Wasl Plaza coincided with the UAE's hosting of the Cop28 climate conference and was attended by global leaders.

UAE President Sheikh Mohamed honours Zayed Sustainability Prize winners at Cop28

UAE President Sheikh Mohamed honours Zayed Sustainability Prize winners at Cop28

Palestine's Gaza Urban and Peri-urban Agricultural Platform was announced as the winner in the food category award.

Launched in 2013, the non-profit organisation helps small-scale, female urban producers in Gaza to achieve food security in their communities by bringing together those involved in developing the Palestinian agricultural sector.

The winner in the Climate Change category – introduced this year in celebration of the UAE's Year of Sustainability and Cop28 – was Kelp Blue, Namibia, which contributes to the restoration of natural ocean wilderness and the mitigation of excess CO2 by establishing large-scale kelp forests in deep waters.

The winner in the health category was Indonesia's doctorSHARE, a non-profit organisation dedicated to expanding healthcare access in remote regions using barge-mounted floating hospitals.

In the energy category, the winner was Ignite Power from Rwanda, which specialises in delivering solar-powered pay-as-you-go solutions to electrify last-mile communities.

In the water category, the winner was Eau et Vie, a non-profit organisation from France that offers individual taps to impoverished urban residents, ensuring access to clean water in slum areas.

The Global High School winners were Colegio De Alto Rendimiento La Libertad (Peru), Gwani Ibrahim Dan Hajja Academy (Nigeria), International School (Morocco), Northfleet Technology College (UK), Kort Education Complex (Pakistan) and Beijing No 35 High School (China).

Changing the lives of millions

The annual prize was launched in 2008, named in honour of UAE Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, recognises and rewards people, organisations and high schools that have demonstrated exceptional efforts in promoting sustainability across various sectors.

Over the past 15 years, the prize has been a powerful force for positive change, transforming the lives of more than 378 million people across 151 countries.

“These remarkable changemakers, activists and entrepreneurs have improved the lives of millions with innovative, sustainable solutions, by bringing light to those who struggle in darkness, expanding renewable energy to remote villages that had no access to electricity whatsoever and ending generations of sickness with clean drinking water,” said Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, director general of the Zayed Sustainability Prize and Cop28 President.

“Excellencies, the prize winners fully embody the values of the late Sheikh Zayed who had a vision for sustainable progress that was ahead of its time.

“He believed that real progress was only possible if we balanced the health of the planet with the wealth of nations; advancing the many, not the few, and encouraging the kindness of humankind.

“In short, he believed that being a great leader means first being a good human.”

Dr Al Jaber said the achievements of the prize winners “are an inspiration to all of us”.

“They prove that if high school students and small businesses can change countless lives, the leaders of nations can surely change the world,” he said.

“As Cop28 continues, let their expertise become the example that can guide for faster progress, higher ambition and a positive, global stocktake decision.

“Let their accomplishments drive us to keep 1.5°C within reach and let their humanity push us to advance humanity.”

Updated: December 02, 2023, 8:09 AM