First Minister Carwyn Jones has told ITV News the St David Awards are an important addition to the existing honours system.
– First Minister Carwyn Jones
Money's very tight at the moment; we've already got an honours system - why do we need the St David Awards as well? Because it's important that we have a system that complements the existing honours.
It's not an enormous cost - but it does mean we can say to people 'thanks for what you've done, thanks for the contribution you've made to Welsh life'.
The finalists of the first national St David Awards will be announced at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff today.
The First Minister, Carwyn Jones, will unveil the shortlist designed to recognise exceptional achievements.
There are nine awards on offer - including a range of skills from sport to innovation and technology.
The awards will be given to people who are not simply doing their jobs, but rather those who do make a real difference to the quality of life in Wales.
The award ceremony will be held at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama on Thursday March 13th.