Actress Cate Blanchett, singer Shakira and Queen Rania of Jordan are some of the international figures named as members of the Earthshot Prize council.
Rania summed up the mood of the project, led by the Duke of Cambridge, when she said the environmental threat to the planet was “urgent” but it was not “hopeless”.
The 13-strong judging panel, which also features William, has activists, world renowned sport stars and a billionaire philanthropist among its ranks.
Rania said: “For too long we have neglected our shared world, and today we are reaping the shared consequences.
“None of us can opt out of the damaging ramifications of climate change, pollution, or resource depletion.
“And while the situation is urgent, it is not hopeless. When our backs are against the wall, humanity has a knack for coming together to find innovative solutions.
“We push back and power through. I am hopeful that platforms such as the Earthshot Prize will help us do just that.”
Organisers of the prize want it to have a global presence. Council members from the across the planet have been chosen, and were featured in a launch film chatting individually with William via a video call.
Colombian singer Shakira said: “Your children, my children – they have to find ways to reduce carbon emissions, to repair our oceans, to clean the air.
“So we need young minds to be informed and invested, which is why education is so important. But we can’t just stand still. We have to lead the way and we have to do it now.”
Blanchett said: “All around the world, science and community-based initiatives are leading to ground-breaking inventions and solutions which, if provided with the platform and resources to be implemented on a larger scale, could have a significant and positive impact on the environment and global economy.
“The Earthshot Prize aims to do just that, and by providing this vital platform, we hope to refocus the narrative on climate change to one of hope and action.”
A panel of experts will support the judging process, making recommendations to the prize council, who will select the final winners in five categories each year over ten years from 2021.
Meet The @EarthshotPrize Council 🌍🏆
— The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@KensingtonRoyal) October 8, 2020
Sir David Attenborough, a supporter of the Earthshot Prize since its early days, was also named as a judge and said the project could be the impetus to create real change as he chatted to William in the launch video.
He said: “I really do think things are about to start to move, and this sort of idea could be the spark that is really going to give it the lift and the impetus to develop into something huge.
“It’s a great source of hope, and I hope it spreads around the world.”
The project, which has a £50 million prize fund, hopes to encourage entries from individuals, businesses and even cities, who will put forward ideas and solutions to environmental problems.
Among the judges are Brazil’s national football captain Dani Alves, Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, an environmental activist from Chad, PepsiCo’s former chief executive officer Indra Nooyi and former astronaut Naoko Yamazaki from Japan.
Billionaire online retail entrepreneur Jack Ma from China is also on the council, as is his countryman Yao Ming, a former basketball star, Nigerian-born economist Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and ex-UN climate chief Christiana Figueres.