What is the Zayed Sustainability Prize?

Global innovators challenged to take on the most threatening environmental problems


A 20mx20m light installation, comprised of 2,000 solar lanterns, arranged to reveal the Zayed Sustainability Prize logo.

Following a month-long, five-country, transcontinental journey, the Zayed Sustainability Prizes Guiding Light campaign arrived to Abu Dhabi today. 

(Photo by Reem Mohammed/The National)

Section:  NA
Powered by automated translation

It has been eleven years since the UAE launched an international prize to inspire renewable energy projects in the name of the nation’s founding father, Sheikh Zayed.

Built on the foundations of sustainable growth, innovation and development the award has evolved from the Zayed Future Energy Prize into the Zayed Sustainability Prize of today.

So far, supported projects around the world in developing countries have touched more than 318 million people, and unearthed 76 winners.

A passion for changing the future through ideas and hard work has united this special group of environmentalists.

The latest incarnation of the Zayed prize will support five categories of sustainability; health, food, water, energy and global high schools.

Each category winner will be awarded $600,000 (Dh2.2 million)

With a total prize fund of $3m, the award has ambitions of making a tangible difference to communities, and aims to inspire a new generation of responsible environmentalists.

Winners of the 2019 Zayed Sustainability Prize will be announced on Monday at the opening day of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.

Six schools from different regions of the world are each hoping to scoop a $100,000 prize.

Individual projects are being evaluated on three criteria; their impact on people’s lives, innovation to bring transformative change and inspiration, with the potential to develop ideas into bigger projects.

Schools have been tasked to come up with solutions in the areas of health, food, energy or water and is aimed at pupils aged 11-19.


Read more:

Abu Dhabi campaign shines a light on sustainability vision

Two thousand UAE solar lanterns to bring light to off-grid island in Bangladesh


The overall health award will commend projects empowering communities by giving access to affordable healthcare.

Entrants should be active in improving maternal and newborn health, or tackling epidemics and illness from pollution and hazardous chemicals.

The best projects will have a long-term vision for change, and is targeting small or medium sized enterprises with annual revenue less than $50m.

The food category is focusing on ending hunger and malnutrition, increasing agricultural productivity, building new sustainable food production systems and promoting seed type and animal population diversity.

Energy has been central to the Zayed Prize since its inception, and 2019 is no different.

This category award will support projects that improve energy efficiency and security, expand infrastructure and upgrade accessible energy supply technology.

A three-year drought in Cape Town, South Africa bought the issue of water shortages sharply into focus.

In early 2018, the crisis led to water rationing of just 50 litres of water per person, per day — half the average consumption of most Americans.

Water is another key category of the 2019 Zayed Sustainability Prize, to award the best solutions to what will become a worsening problem in the near future for many global communities.

Projects illustrating the best solutions to improve water quality, sanitation and efficiency, while preserving water related ecosystems will be given the highest award.

The projects have been evaluated in a three stage process, by an international research and analysis firm, select committee and a jury.