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UAE Water Aid Foundation launches Global Water Award, prizes totalling US$1m

  • UAE Water Aid Foundation launches Global Water Award, prizes totalling US$1m

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HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the UAE Water Aid Foundation (Suqia), has announced details of the 2nd Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Water Award. The award was launched by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to encourage research centres, individuals, and innovators around the world to find sustainable and innovative solutions using solar energy to address the scarcity of potable water. Overseen by Suqia, under the umbrella of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, the award has three main categories: Innovative Projects Award, Innovative Research & Development Award, and Innovative Individual Award, with prizes totalling USD 1 million.

Al Tayer made this announcement at a press conference he held. Members of the Board of Suqia who were present included HE Fahad Abdelrahman bin Sultan, Deputy Secretary-General for International Aid in the UAE Red Crescent Authority and Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Suqia; Waleed Salman, Executive Vice President of Business Development & Excellence at DEWA; and Mohammed Abdulkareem Al Shamsi, Acting Executive Director of Suqia.

The Innovative Projects Award targets government, semi-government, and non-government organisations. It has two categories: the Large Projects Award with total prizes worth USD 300,000, and the Small Projects Award with total prizes worth USD 240,000. The Innovative Research & Development Award targets individuals and teams from academic institutions and research centres that are independent or annexed to governmental or semi-government organisations. It has two categories: the National Institutions Award and the International Institutions Award with total prizes worth USD 200,000 each. The Innovative Individual Award has two categories: the Youth Award, which targets youth between the ages of 15 and 35 with a prize value of USD 20,000; and the Distinguished Researcher Award with a prize value of USD 40,000. Terms & conditions for applying are available on Suqia’s website (http://( . The deadline for receiving the applications is 30 June 2019.

“This year’s award is particularly important during the Year of Tolerance, announced by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE. The Year of Tolerance is an extension to the Year of Zayed 2018 as it carries the values consolidated by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan who extended a helping hand to the needy all over the world and alleviated human suffering, regardless of gender, race, colour or religion. These principles are carried on by our wise leadership. This year’s award builds on the great success of the first one during the Year of Giving in 2017. We witnessed wide participation and much innovation by global research centres, institutions, and individuals. We received 138 participants from 43 countries around the world. We were also pleased with the size of participation from young people in the award, which celebrated 10 winners from 8 countries, emphasising the role of the UAE as a platform for innovation, a destination for innovators, and an incubator for creative minds from around the world,” said Al Tayer, during the press conference.

“Water is at the centre of economic and social development, and its security is a global challenge because of the increasing population and economic growth. Water scarcity affects over 40% of the world's population. Drinking water is one of the main foundations for achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030, with the sixth goal being to ‘ensure access to water and sanitation for all.’ According to the United Nations World Water Development Report 2019 titled ‘Leaving no one behind,’ 3 out of 10 people do not have access to safe drinking water, and over 2 billion people live in countries experiencing high water stress, and about 4 billion people experience severe water scarcity during at least one month of the year. Stress levels will continue to increase as demand for water grows and the effects of climate change intensify. Water-related diseases remain among the major causes of death in children under five; more than 800 children die every day from diseases linked to poor hygiene. Hence the importance of the award, which bears the name of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum who taught us that ‘Challenges and obstacles are not the end of the road, but a pathway to new and creative solutions’. So, we should develop innovative and sustainable solutions to one of the key challenges facing humanity - the scarcity of drinking water. I invite research centres, individuals, and innovators from all over the world to participate in the USD 1 million award that will help improve the lives of millions of people around the world and result in positive global changes, that comes from the UAE, the land of peace, happiness, and positivity and the country of tolerance, benevolence, and generosity,” added Al Tayer.

“While we affirm the importance of this award in supporting global efforts for providing clean drinking water to the needy around the world, Suqia will continue its efforts in providing safe drinking water to communities suffering from water scarcity and pollution, in cooperation with local and international organisations as well as continue our research and development efforts to create sustainable solutions for the desalination and purification of water using solar energy. By the end of last year, over 9 million people in 34 countries had benefited from Suqia’s projects, in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who launched the 50-Year Charter and stated ‘Charity is indeed a major factor in the happiness of societies and the continuity of progress and prosperity’,” concluded Al Tayer.

Mohammed Abdulkareem Al Shamsi noted that applications will be evaluated according to the highest international standards. The evaluation criteria of the Innovative Projects Award and Innovative Research & Development Award include creativity and innovation (30%), technology & process design (20%), adaptability to local environments (20%), adherence to health and safety and other environment standards (20%), and cost-effectiveness and scalability (10%). The Innovative Individual Award - Youth Award will be evaluated on creativity and innovation (50%), active engagement, teamwork, education and awareness on water scarcity related issues (25%), adherence to health and safety and other environment standards (15%), and technology & process design (10%). The Distinguished Researcher Award will be evaluated on proven leadership in the advancement of water scarcity issues and the production of safe drinking water using solar technology (35%), creativity and innovation (35%), technology & process design (15%), and adherence to health and safety and other environment standards (15%).

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