Sh7bn environment ‘Nobel’ prize launched

Prince William and Sir David Attenboroug (left) have joined forces to launch the Earthshot Prize. The Aga Khan Development Network is one of the Global Alliance Founding Partners and will be contributing £1 million annually to the project.


Photo credit: Pool

What you need to know:

  • Five people, organisations or groups will be awarded every  year, each going home with Sh141 million each.
  • Nominations for the awards, described by some media as “the Nobel of environmentalism”, open on November 1 this year, with an awards ceremony in a different city each year, starting with London.

Prince William has launched what has been billed as “the most prestigious global environment prize in history”, with Sh7 billion in prize money over 10 years in an attempt to find solutions to protect and restore the environment. 

Five people, organisations or groups will be awarded every  year, each going home with Sh141 million each (1 million pounds) — slightly more than what Nobel prize winners take home — with an ambitious plan to find 50 solutions to the world’s environmental problems.

Starting next year, the Earthshot Prize will be awarded annually, one each in the five objectives identified: protecting and restoring nature, cleaning the air, reviving oceans, building a waste-free world and fixing the climate.

Substantial contribution

Nominations for the awards, described by some media as “the Nobel of environmentalism”, open on November 1 this year, with an awards ceremony in a different city each year, starting with London.

“As well as identifying evidence-based solutions to the biggest environmental problems the planet faces, The Earthshot Prize aims to turn the current pessimism surrounding environmental issues into optimism that we can rise to the biggest challenges of our time,” a media statement announcing the prize said.

The award has a Kenyan angle after it was revealed that Prince William came up with the idea during a visit to three African countries — Kenya, Namibia, and Tanzania — two years ago.

Prizes, the organisers said, could be awarded to a wide range of individuals, teams or collaborations — scientists, activists, economists, community projects, leaders, governments, banks, businesses, cities, and countries — anyone whose workable solutions make a substantial contribution to achieving the five ‘Earthshots.’

Ambitious plan

The awards will be run by the Earthshot Prize Council supported by Global Alliance, a network of organisations from across the world that share the Duke of Cambridge’s ambitious plan.

The Aga Khan Development Network leads the list of the Global Alliance founding partners, a group of the world’s leading philanthropists and organisations who will work with us to deliver the ambition, scale and reach of the Prize through both funding and shared partnership objectives.

The other organisations are Bloomberg Philanthropies, DP World in partnership with Dubai EXPO 2020, The Jack Ma Foundation, Marc and Lynne Benioff, and The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, with the organisers saying other names will be announced later.

The Prize Council has high-profile names, including Australian Hollywood actor Cate Blanchett, Chinese billionaire philanthropist Jack Ma, Brazilian footballer Dani Alves, Colombian singer Shakira and British naturalist David Attenborough.

“The plan is to really galvanise and bring together the best minds, the best possible solutions, to fixing and tackling some of the world’s greatest environmental challenges,” Prince William said.

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