Citizens and organisations from the 56 Commonwealth countries can now submit entries for the Secretary-General’s Innovation for Sustainable Development Awards to win prestigious titles and cash prizes.
Launched by the Commonwealth Secretary-General in 2019, the awards recognise ground-breaking innovations from Commonwealth countries that contribute to one or more of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
An independent jury will judge the entries and select 15 winners – three from each Commonwealth region – across five categories. Each category is structured around the five pillars of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace, and Partnership.
The awards focus on celebrating innovations that improve the lives of people, protect the planet, support prosperity, promote peace and strengthen partnerships for sustainable development.
Each winner will receive a trophy, a certificate of recognition and a cash prize of £3,000 at an award ceremony, to be held during the inaugural Commonwealth Edition of Kenya Innovation Week 2023 in Nairobi on 27 November.
Announcing this year’s awards, the Commonwealth Secretary-General, the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, encouraged everyone to take advantage of this opportunity, adding:
“In these turbulent times, we find ourselves in greater need of the determination, talent, and imagination of Commonwealth citizens to confront the challenges affecting our people, communities, and planet.
“We hope these awards will shine a spotlight on innovations which often go unnoticed but are making a real, measurable difference in communities across the Commonwealth.
“By doing so, these solutions will also serve as a source of inspiration, encouraging others to replicate these ideas or pioneer new approaches in our collective effort to build a sustainable future that leaves none of us behind.”
Reflecting on the awards’ significance, Christopher Nesbitt from Belize, a recipient of the 2019 Prosperity Award for his work on carbon farming, said: “In the 30 years I’ve been working in this field, the Commonwealth has shown the greatest interest and given me the most encouragement.”
Professor Askwar Hilonga from Tanzania, who received the 2021 People Award for his innovative water purification system, said: “Winning the Commonwealth Innovation Award has increased my innovation visibility, reputation, network, and potential to attract more customers, mentors, and sponsors for scale-up to many countries.”
Entries must be received by 23:59 GMT on 15 October 2023. Women and young people, who are transforming their societies through innovative solutions, are especially encouraged to apply.
This is the third biennial edition of the awards, with the previous ceremonies held in 2019 and 2021.