The announcement of the new prize was made by the foundation’s president, Isabel Mota, during a ceremony for the 2019 Gulbenkian Awards, which took place on the 150th anniversary of the birth of its founder, Calouste Sarkis Gulbenkian.

The new Prize for Humanity has the declared purpose of "encouraging the emergence of new ideas, which contribute to the improvement of the future of humankind".

The first one, in 2020, is to be in the field of climate change, which the foundation views as the greatest challenge facing humanity and the one in which action is most urgent.

"The creation of this award comes in the wake of a historical decision of the foundation, a decision that as it breaks with the past, looks to the future: that of disinvestment from oil and gas and reinforcement of support for solutions that mitigate the effects of climate change , accompanying, incidentally, the international movement … by other foundations," the organisation said in a statement.

It stressed that the Calouste Gulbenkian Prize for Humanity is to reinforce "the alignment of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation with the new world agenda and a strong sense of the future."