The most prestigious global environment prize in history is being launched today by Prince William with the Aga Khan Development Network as a Founding Partner. The Earthshot Prize aims to encourage large-scale change over the next 10 years — a critical decade for the Earth.

As a Global Alliance Founding Partner of the Earthshot Prize, AKDN will work closely with The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to deliver this ambitious and exciting project. The Prize will support the global effort to protect and restore the environment while also turning the current pessimism surrounding these issues into optimism, highlighting the ability of human ingenuity to bring about positive change.

The idea takes inspiration from United States President John F. Kennedy’s ‘Moonshot’; an aspirational and ground-breaking programme which succeeded in landing the first human on the moon in 1969, catalysed the development of new technology in the 1960s, and made the seemingly impossible, possible.

Placing our shared planet at the centre of its thinking, the new prize is centred around five Earthshots, each a simple yet ambitious goal to repair the natural environment. The five Earthshots unveiled today are:

• Protect and restore nature
• Clean our air
• Revive our oceans
• Build a waste-free world
• Fix our climate

Together, these form a unique set of challenges rooted in science, which aim to generate new ways of thinking, as well as new technologies, systems, policies, and solutions. By bringing these five critical issues together, The Earthshot Prize recognises the interconnectivity between environmental challenges and the urgent need to tackle them together.

As Chair of AKDN’s Environment and Climate Committee, Prince Rahim remarked on the significance of this new prize and the importance of caring for the environment, saying, “The Aga Khan Development Network is proud to be a Founding Partner of The Earthshot Prize. It is our collective responsibility to be good stewards of the planet. At this critical moment, we must all nurture and invest in solutions that can repair our planet before it is too late.”

“The AKDN has been working for over a century in Asia and Africa to improve quality of life - through education and healthcare, livelihoods and infrastructure, and long-term institutions of civil society. The decades of progress now hang in the balance: environmental degradation and climate change will wipe out these gains entirely unless we act now with urgency and conviction.”

Prince Rahim also spoke of AKDN’s own efforts to find solutions to environmental crises, particularly for communities who are most at risk from climate change, saying, “To do its part, AKDN has a net-zero carbon target for its own operations and will mobilise its agencies to mitigate the effects of climate change and help vulnerable communities to adapt. We are excited to partner with The Earthshot Prize which, over the next decade, will identify fifty solutions with the potential to keep our planet habitable. Working together, we can and must help ensure a future for life on Earth.”

Prizes 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 Earthshots.

Every year from 2021 until 2030, Prince William, alongside The Earthshot Prize Council, will award a £1 million prize to five winners, one per Earthshot, whose evidence-based solutions make the most progress towards these goals. An annual global awards ceremony will be held in a different international city each year, beginning with London in the autumn of 2021.

The next 10 years will determine whether humanity stands any chance of preventing runaway climate change, mass extinction, and irreparable damage to nature, both on land and underwater. The existing problems are urgent and complex, but with a spirit of optimism, can be tackled.

Like the famous Moonshot of the 1960s, this new collaborative project addresses a large problem, proposes radical solutions, and encourages innovation over the course of a decade to make lasting change. If achieved by the year 2030, it will contribute to repairing the Earth, and improving the quality of life for us and many generations to come.


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