Doha, Qatar: Earthna Centre for a Sustainable Future, a member of Qatar Foundation (QF), launched a new global sustainability prize yesterday to recognise effective approaches to environmental management that blend traditional knowledge with present-day solutions.

The Earthna Prize was launched coinciding with the Earth Day and aims to diversify, educate, and activate the environmental movement worldwide.

Officials said, the biennial prize will reward $1m to four winning organisations whose work aligns with the prize’s themes: water resource management, food security, sustainable urbanism, and land stewardship.

Vice Chairperson and CEO of Qatar Foundation, H E Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani in a statement said, “The Earthna Prize is a call to honour and learn from the deep ecological wisdom of Indigenous peoples. These invaluable traditions provide us with time-tested institutions and precepts that truly work.”

Applicants for the Earthna Prize can be non-governmental organizations, community groups, and businesses. They can self-apply or be nominated for their efforts, and applications for the inaugural Earthna Prize are open until June 30, said Executive Director of Earthna Centre, Dr. Gonzalo Castro de la Mata, speaking at a press conference held at the QF headquarters.

He said a high-level jury will select the four winners, who will be announced at the Earthna Summit in April 2025.

Speaking to the media on the sidelines, Dr. Mata explained how the Earthna Prize is outstanding compared to existing environmental prizes.

“This is a very different prize because we’re focusing on traditional knowledge and cultural heritage. Usually, environmental prizes try to recognise initiatives to solve today’s environmental problems, but here, we’re really looking at the knowledge that has been accumulated in communities around the world and the relevance of that knowledge to solutions to today’s problems,” he said.

“So, for example, there are many community practices for good water management that these communities are still practicing around the world, and this has been going on for hundreds of years, many generations, and we don’t want that knowledge to be lost. We want to recognise it, and we want to study the extent to which these solutions are still relevant today,” he added.

Dr. Mata said that the Earthna Prize will be awarded every two years in four categories, and the total amount of $1m prize money will divided as 250,000 for each winner.

“The prize recognizes past actions…but the winners will demonstrate that they will use the prize money to continue their work, and we will have a process to monitor and evaluate the results after they have used the prize money for their work,” he said.

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