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Caribbean innovators recognised at Commonwealth 70th event

PICTURED: The Duke of Sussex, Wayne Neale and Christopher Nesbitt

THE DUKE of Sussex presented prizes to innovators in international development at a garden party celebrating the Commonwealth’s 70th anniversary in London.

Fifteen trailblazers won the Commonwealth Secretary-General’s Innovation for Sustainable Development Award, with winners attending a special ceremony on Friday (Jun 7).

Amongst them were the CEO of Greening the Caribbean, Wayne Neale from St Lucia , and the director of Maya Mountain Research Farm in Belize, Christopher Nesbitt . They received their awards from Prince Harry, Commonwealth Youth Ambassador.

Mr Neale, who operates climate-smart waste management services, said: “The types of issues that we are confronted with globally cannot be solved by traditional methodologies. They require social entrepreneurship and real change-makers, and this award represents a launching pad of what can be done in the Commonwealth in terms of it creating environmental outcomes.”

Mr Nesbitt, who converted a degraded citrus and cattle farm into a hub for agroforestry innovation added: “To receive this award is a validation of the work we’ve done over the last 30 years. But for the first 15 years, I didn’t see a lot of results. So my message is to look for these opportunities and don’t give up.”

Winners each received a trophy, a certificate and a £2000 prize. They were selected by an independent jury, based on the impact for potential of their innovations to advance one or more of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

The initiative seeks to showcase impactful innovations and forward-looking solutions that help countries advance the Commonwealth Charter values.

Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said: “I am hugely impressed by the talent that is mobilised and multiplied through Commonwealth connection.

“There are also many other inventors and innovators of all ages in every country and community of the Commonwealth and it is they who drive us on towards a future of health, hope and harmony.”

It is hoped the competition will help shine the spotlight on revolutionary ideas from across the Commonwealth that could improve prosperity, protect the planet, promote peace and justice and encourage partnerships in the Commonwealth.

This is the first year of the awards, which were open to all citizens and organisations of the 53 Commonwealth member countries.

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