Pacific geo-hazards expert and Indian researcher of river flood risk awarded top honours for women’s leadership in disaster risk reduction
BANGKOK: The Women’s International Network for Disaster Risk Reduction (WIN DRR) Leadership Awards have been granted to Ms. Esline Garaebiti, Director General of the Ministry of Climate Change Adaptation, Meteorology, Geo-Hazards, Environment, Energy and Disaster Management in Vanuatu and Dr. Homolata Borah, a researcher from India working with communities on Majuli, the world’s largest inhabited river island where river erosion is an existential issue.
The winners were selected from the 420 nominations that were received from 24 countries across the Asia-Pacific region. The awards, which come with a cash prize, celebrate women's achievements in reducing disaster risk.
Mami Mizutori, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction and Head of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, UNDRR, said: “The WIN DRR Leadership Awards is a way to recognise the significant contributions being made by women to reduce disaster risk. ”
“Ms. Garaebiti’s work improving early warning systems across the Pacific means tsunami warnings reach communities faster, enabling those who may be in a tsunami’s path to get to higher ground,” Ms. Mizutori said.
Excellence award winner, Ms. Garaebiti, has supported community leadership in ensuring people-centred early warning systems. “Involving women in disaster risk reduction in Vanuatu helps ensure that the needs of the most at-risk and marginalised people are considered in national, provincial and community disaster risk management planning, from prevention to the recovery,” she said.
“When we look at the next generation of women leaders, Dr Homolata Borah is truly a Rising Star in disaster risk reduction,” said Ms. Mizutori. “By putting communities at the centre of her field research, she has engaged vulnerable communities in Majuli and helped identify practical solutions to the very specific problems of soil and river erosion that they face.”
Rising Star award winner Dr Homolata Borah said: “We need to go beyond the rhetoric of women’s empowerment to more fundamental changes in the way resources are managed equally by women and men.”
The WIN DRR Leadership Awards recognise women’s achievements in disaster risk reduction across the Asia-Pacific region. The awards are part of UNDRR’s flagship women’s leadership initiative, the Women’s International Network for Disaster Risk Reduction (WIN DRR), which is supported by Australian Aid.
There are two award categories – the Excellence Award, proudly sponsored by SM Prime Inc., worth US$10,000 and the Rising Star Award worth US$7,500. The Award winners will be announced during an event at the Asia-Pacific Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Brisbane.
The finalists for the Rising Star Award can be viewed here.
The finalists for the Excellence Award can be viewed here.