Costa Rica among £1m winners of Prince William's environmental Earthshot prize

ITV News Royal Editor Chris Ship highlights the key moments from the ceremony

The nation of Costa Rica and a pair of coral growers were among the winners at the inaugural awards ceremony for the Earthshot Prize.

The ambitious environmental prize, which aims to find solutions to repair the planet, was created by the Duke of Cambridge.

At the award ceremony on Sunday in north London, five winners received £1 million each.

Sir David Attenborough on stage during the first Earthshot Prize awards ceremony.

Judges included broadcaster Sir David Attenborough, actress Cate Blanchett and singer Shakira.

Ed Sheeran, Coldplay and KSI performed during the ceremony, which was shown on BBC One. Actors Emma Watson, Dame Emma Thompson and David Oyelowo, as well as Liverpool FC striker Mo Salah, handed out the awards.

No stars flew in to London and guests were asked by organisers to “consider the environment when choosing their outfit”.

The Duchess of Cambridge announces the Republic of Costa Rica as the winner of the Protect and Restore Nature award.

At the end of the event, William took to the stage and said: “I want to say something to the young watching tonight. For too long, we haven’t done enough to protect the planet for your future, the Earthshot is for you.

“In the next 10 years, we are going to act. We are going to find the solutions to repair our planet. Please keep learning, keep demanding change, and don’t give up hope.

“We will rise to these challenges.”

Actor David Oyelowo (left) announces Takachar, from India, as the winner of the Clean Our Air award.

Among the winners were projects restoring coral reefs, redistributing unwanted food to the disadvantaged and a project battling the issues contributing to air pollution in India.

Kate presented the winning award in the 'protect and restore nature' category to the government of Costa Rica, which has pioneered a project paying local citizens to restore natural ecosystems.

She said: "For too long, we have neglected our wild spaces. And now we are facing a number of tipping points. If we don’t act now, we will permanently destabilise our planet. And we will rob our children of the future they deserve."

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The ceremony comes ahead of the Cop26 UN climate change conference in Glasgow in a few weeks, which the Queen, the Cambridges and the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall will attend.

The Earthshot prize takes its inspiration from the Apollo moon landings, nicknamed Moonshot, which helped advance mankind’s technological achievements.

Every year from 2021 until the end of the decade, winners of the five Earthshots will each receive £1 million to develop their projects. The next ceremony will take place in the US.

The five winners

Protect and Restore Nature: The Republic of Costa Rica

The Earthshot Prize said: "With an innovative policy paying citizens to protect the rainforests and restore local ecosystems, the people of Costa Rica and their Ministry for Environment have reversed decades of deforestation. Since the programme launched, Costa Rica’s forests have doubled in size, leading to a boom in ecotourism and contributing $4 billion to the economy".

Clean our Air: Takachar, India

The Earthshot Prize said: "New Delhi-based Takachar has developed pioneering technology to help end the burning of agricultural waste, which causes severe air pollution. Their cheap, small-scale, portable technology attaches to tractors and converts crop residues into sellable products like fuel and fertiliser and helps reduce smoke emissions by up to 98%".

Revive our Oceans: Coral Vita, Bahamas

The Earthshot Prize said: "Coral Vita’s innovative approach to coral farming of growing coral on land then replanting it in the ocean can grow coral up to 50 times faster than traditional methods and improves coral resilience to the impact of climate change".

Build a Waste-free World: The City of Milan Food Waste Hubs, Italy

The Earthshot Prize said: "As the first major city to enforce a city-wide food waste policy, Milan’s Food Waste Hub programme recovers food from local supermarkets and restaurants and distributes it to citizens in need, recovering about 130 tonnes of food per year, an estimated 260,000 meals equivalent".

Fix our Climate: AEM Electrolyser, Thailand/Germany/Italy

The Earthshot Prize said: "The AEM Electrolyser from Enapter turns renewable electricity into emission-free hydrogen gas with a technology that has been developed quicker and cheaper than ever before and can transform how we power our homes and buildings and fuel transport".