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UN recognizes excellence in protecting vulnerable communities from disaster risk

Source(s):  United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR)

The Department of Civil Defence of Campinas, Brazil, the Mahila Housing SEWA Trust, India, and Mr. Pramod Kumar Mishra, Additional Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister of India, are the three laureates of the 2019 United Nations Sasakawa Award for Disaster Risk Reduction. They have been recognised for initiatives which protect vulnerable communities from disaster risk.

The winners were announced by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, Ms Mami Mizutori at an Awards ceremony in Geneva, Switzerland, during the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, convened by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR).

“Disasters where natural hazards negatively impact people are coming faster, lasting longer and hitting harder. The people impacted the most are those who have done the least to cause these significant changes – the poorest. Nothing lays bare inequality and discrimination like a disaster. While developed countries suffer in terms of absolute economic losses, it is largely the vulnerable and poor who pay the human cost in terms of loss of life, injury and displacement.

“I thank the Nippon Foundation, the 61 nominees and the jury members who have been steadfast in their commitment to inclusivity and recognizing the rights of the most vulnerable. I am pleased to recognize projects and individuals which have made an enormous contribution in integrating the most vulnerable in disaster risk reduction activities.”  

The 2019 United Nations Sasakawa Award for Disaster Risk Reduction recognized for the first time projects and initiatives undertaken by institutions and individuals that made a substantial contribution towards more building inclusive and resilient societies.

“We received many excellent projects, and the choice was not easy to make but the finalists are the ones who demonstrated the most durable, sustained and comprehensive and inclusive approach towards disaster risk reduction.” Ms Marcie Roth, jury member and President and CEO of Inclusive Emergency Strategies LLC.

UNDRR received 61 nominations from 31 countries. Two organizations and one individual were awarded:

  • The Department of the Civil Defence of Campinas in Brazil was chosen for its unique sustainable community approach towards more inclusiveness, its strong local leadership and the active participation of all vulnerable groups in mapping and mitigating risks.
  • The Mahila Housing SEWA Trust, India, was recognized for its innovative and inclusive approach bringing together scientific and indigenous knowledge and empowering women living in slum districts and enhancing the resilience of entire families against recurrent disasters including children, older persons and persons living with disabilities.
  • Mr. Pramod Kumar Mishra, popularly known as PK Mishra, was awarded for a lifetime of dedication to improving the resilience of communities most exposed to floods and drought, and his personal commitment to social inclusion as a critical principle to reduce inequality and poverty, enhancing the safety net of the socially and economically marginalized.

The United Nations Sasakawa Award for Disaster Risk Reduction was created more than 30 years ago and is jointly organized by UNDRR and the Nippon Foundation. A total grant of US$50,000 is distributed among the winners.

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  • Publication date 15 May 2019

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