By Andy McElroy
GENEVA, 8 December 2014 – The 2015 Sasakawa Award has generated a huge response with 88 nominations of individuals and organizations received from a remarkable 44 countries.
And the four judges – from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania – have taken the first important step by announcing their first long list of 33 nominations that remain in contention for the prestigious award. The full list still under consideration is found below.
The bumper entry indicates the extent and the excellence of work around the world to reduce disaster risk at the local, municipal, national, regional and global level.
It clearly demonstrates the gathering interest and momentum ahead of the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan, in March 2015, at which the winner of the Sasakawa Award will be announced.
It is expected that the jury’s final deliberations will go down to the last hours ahead of the glittering Award Ceremony, to be held in Sendai, on March 17.
The initial batch of 88 nominations received were from the following countries: Afghanistan, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Brazil, Burundi, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, France, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tanzania, Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago, Togo, Turkey, Uganda, Uruguay, USA, and Viet Nam. These nominations include those for individuals and organizations working within their respective countries and/or beyond.
The countries with the most entries are the Philippines (10) followed by India and Brazil (five), Mauritania and Senegal (four), and Iran, Pakistan, and US, (three).
The breadth of work covered in the nominations is impressive and includes a focus on: university applied research, hazard and risk assessment, various aspects of community development (rural and urban), DRR coordination at various levels, civil protection and emergency preparedness and response, earthquake engineering, volcano observation, urban flood risk, food security, landslides, land use, resources and fundraising, advocacy, innovation and design, IT, education, elderly persons, displacement, health (including psycho-social support and emergency care), monitoring, culture and heritage, architecture, early warning, private sector, disability, and water management.
The Head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), Ms Margareta Wahlström, welcomed the tremendous interest in the 2015 Sasakawa Award.
“The number of nominations received is testimony to the Award’s prestige and continued relevance in today’s world of often more unpredictable, intense and frequent hazards,” Ms Wahlström said.
“And it is only right that amid the bad news on disasters we also shine a light on the many individuals and organizations who continue to innovate and provide such inspiring examples of what is possible when you have capacity, organization, leadership and commitment. As the range of nominations clearly shows, disaster risk reduction is everybody’s business. The judges have taken the important first step of announcing their initial long list and I look forward to hearing their final decision in Sendai.”
2015 Sasakawa Award: Initial Long List:
Jeffrey Town Farmers Association Jamaica
Asian Disaster Preparedness Center Thailand
DOST-UP Disaster Risk and Exposure Assessment for Mitigation (DREAM) Program Philippines
Homeless People’s Federation Philippines
Bogo City and 1Lt Ben Fredrick R. Rodriguez Philippines
Allan Lavell Costa Rica
Mr Gopalan Nair Shankar India
ONG Inclusiva Chile
The Institute for Social and Environmental Transition-International (ISET) USA
Heifer International Philippines
Care Society Maldives
Displacement Solutions (Climate Change and Displacement Initiative) Switzerland
International Consortium on Landslides (ICL) Japan
Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment Through Alternative Legal Services (IDEALS) Philippines
International Institute of Seismology and Earthquake Engineering (IISEE) Japan
Red Metropolitan para la Gestion del Riesgo Colombia
Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVCSB) India
Programa Hospital Seguro de Mexico Mexico
Min. Joaquin Roa Burgos Paraguay
Design for Disasters Thailand
Mashhad Municipality Iran
Myanmar Disaster Risk Reduction Working Group Myanmar
Crisis Management Center & Rapid Response Service 911 Armenia
Ms Marie Alta Jean-Baptiste Haiti
Tuti Community Sudan
Dr Mark Keim USA
Dr Ali Ardalan Iran
Australian Business Roundtable Australia
Disability-inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction Network (DiDRRN) Indonesia
Heritage Foundation of Pakistan
Rabaul Volcano Observatory Papua New Guinea