UN Sasakawa Award for Disaster Reduction

Sasakawa Award

Recognizing excellence in DRR

The United Nations Sasakawa Award for Disaster Reduction is awarded to an individual or institutions that have taken active efforts in reducing disaster risk in their communities and advocates for disaster risk reduction. UNISDR is the administrator of the UN Sasakawa Award for Disaster Reduction.

Nominations for the United Nations Sasakawa Award for Disaster Reduction are now closed. The Award will be presented during the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction on 16 May 2019.

The United Nations Sasakawa Award for Disaster Reduction is one of three prestigious prizes established in 1986 by founding Chairman of the Nippon Foundation, Mr. Ryoichi Sasakawa. It is worth approximately US $50,000 and is shared among the Laureates. Nominees also receive Certificates of Distinction and Merit.

The Award recognizes individuals, organizations and initiatives that have best contributed to ensuring inclusive, accessible and non-discriminatory participation in disaster risk reduction activities for all sections of society, especially the poor.

The 2019 Award received a record 62 entries. The expert jury panel this year are:

Najla Bouden Romdhane

Prof Najla Bouden Romdhane is Professor at the National School of Engineers of Tunis, in Tunisia (www.enit.rnu.tn). Her research expertise comprises seismic risk assessment and management, including regional hazard and local site effects modeling, site investigations, building vulnerability assessment and seismic risk scenario simulation. She has been involved in several working groups and programs in the Middle East and North Africa and the Mediterranean region and worked on disaster-related issues with different partners including re-insurance groups.


Professor Najla is strongly involved in disaster risk reduction issues. She is Co-chairing both the UNISDR Global and Arab Science and Technology Advisory Groups (Global-STAG & Arab-STAG).  She is currently holding the position of Director General at the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research in Tunisia where she is coordinating the Tertiary Education for Employment Project (TEEP).  Professor Najla is the recipient of the National Merit Medal of Education and Sciences (2005 & 2016). 


Najla Bouden Romdhane holds a State Doctorate in Civil Engineering (Risk Assessment, ENIT & Paris 6, France) and a PhD in Mining Engineering ( Ecole des Mines de Paris, France). She was also auditor of the National Institute of Defense of Tunisia (2005-2006) and Lecturer in the same institute in Disaster Management.


Marcie Roth

Marcie Roth is the CEO of the Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies and President of Inclusive Emergency Management Strategies LLC.  She is a global disability rights leader and an expert on whole community inclusive emergency preparedness and disaster response, recovery and mitigation. 

Ms. Roth was appointed by President Obama to the U.S Department of Homeland Security Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) from 2009 to 2017. She has represented the U.S. government internationally as an expert on whole community inclusive global disaster risk reduction since 2012. Ms. Roth has served in senior and executive leadership roles for national and global non-profit organizations since 1996.  

Ms. Roth is a Harvard University Kennedy School of Government Senior Executive Fellow with a BS in Public Safety Administration from the University of Maryland University College.

Eduardo Martinez

The UPS Foundation leads the global citizenship programs and initiatives for UPS. As President, Ed Martinez is responsible for the operations and management of its global community investments, employee engagement and corporate relations programs which invests in over 4,300 organizations and communities across 170 countries.  In addition to his role as President of The UPS Foundation, M. Martinez also serves as the UPS Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer with responsibilities for the advancement of diversity and inclusion programs which empower over 480,000 UPS employees worldwide including its suppliers, customers and communities.

M. Martinez was a corporate legal counsel in the UPS Legal Department until 2007, where his practice included intellectual property, information technology matters, commercial transactions as well as civil litigation.  Prior to assuming the role of President for The UPS Foundation, he held senior management positions at UPS in the areas of Corporate Finance and Accounting, Risk Management and Acquisitions

 M. Martinez serves as a director on numerous boards and leadership advisory councils for the United Nations, civil society organizations and the World Economic Forum.  He recently joined the Global Humanitarian Action Executive Council under the leadership of the UN Secretary General’s Humanitarian Envoy.  He is a frequent speaker and advocate for the importance and value of public-private sector partnership to help drive humanitarian action, global sustainability, social & gender equality and the advancement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.


2013 Sasakawa Award

2017: AMADORA Municipality, Portugal and DRES - Safe Schools Programme, Islamic Republic of Iran.

The 2017 award recognised projects that have made a substantial contribution towards saving lives and reducing global disaster mortality. According to the jury they demonstrated the most durable, sustained, inclusive and comprehensive institutional efforts in disaster risk management.

2013 Sasakawa Award

2015: Model Researcher - Allan Lavall (Costa Rica)

The highly respected researcher and practitioner in disaster risk reduction, Allan Lavell was the laureate in 2015. His work, which spans four decades, adopts a multi-disciplinary and holistic approach.

2013 Sasakawa Award

2013: Belo Horizonte (Brazil) and National Alliance for Risk Reduction and Response Initiative (Bangladesh)

Under the theme "Acting As One", Belo Horizonte was recognized for fostering cooperation between local residents, public utility companies and private businesses, and NARRI for demonstrating the scale of impact which can be achieved through working in collaboration.

2011 Sasakawa Award

2011: Cities of San Francisco (Philippines), Santa Fe (Argentina), and the District of North Vancouver (Canada)

San Francisco was recognized for its innovative use of the Purok system; Santa Fe for effectively communicating risk to citizens; the District of North Vancouver for providing as much information where possible to its community.

Press Release for 2009 Sasakawa Award

2009: Dr. Eko Teguh Paripurno, Indonesia

Dr Paripurno is the Director of the Research Center for Disaster Management of the University of National Development in Yogyakarta and consultant to local and national governments as well as to various civil society organizations.

Press Release for 2007 Sasakawa Award

2007: Professor Yoshiaki Kawata, Japan and Tony Gibbs, Caribbean engineer in building safety,

Professor Kawata was awarded for his promotion of research and knowledge about past disasters. Mr Gibbs is also being awarded for his advocacy and leadership role in sharing his knowledge with engineers, architects, builders and the general public.

Press Release for 2005 Sasakawa Award

2005: Mr. Chimeddorj Batchulluun, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mongolia

Mr. Batchulluun provided a model for effective risk reduction combining traditional and cultural values with modern technical capabilities to increase the resilience of herding communities in Mongolia.

Press Release for 2004 Sasakawa Award

2004: Dr. Omar Dario Cardona, Colombia

Dr. Cardona is a Colombian earthquake engineer known internationally for his pioneering approaches to vulnerability reduction and risk management. He has made a remarkable contribution introducing the concept of structural seismic vulnerability.

Press Release for 2003 Sasakawa Award

2003: Mrs. Tadzong, née Esther Anwi Mofor, Provincial Chief of Service for Planning and Guidance, Ministry of National Education, Cameroon

Mrs. Tadzong is the driving force behind the Global Centre for Compliance, Hazard and Disaster Management which was created to help victims and survivors after a serious industrial accident.

Press Release for 2002 Sasakawa Award

2002: Professor Dr. Serguei Balassanian, President, Armenian Association of Seismology and Physics of the Earth's Interior (AASPEI), Armenia

Professor Balassanian was recognized for his long-term dedication to seismic disaster risk reduction, and for mobilizing the scientific and political community on disaster reduction.

Press Release for 2001 Sasakawa Award

2001: Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC), Germany

GFMC was selected unanimously for its long-term commitment to disaster reduction and continued research activities for their reduction of wild land fires worldwide, as well as for its multiple cooperation projects in developing countries, involving local communities.

Download the 2000 Sasakawa Report

2000: Fondo para la Reconstrucción y el Desarrollo Social del Eje Cafetero (FOREC), Colombia

FOREC's innovative approach lies in the application of a public management model for disaster reconstruction, based on the full participation and involvement of NGOs in the rehabilitation process.


Previous Laureates

VI Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas, Cartagena, Colombia 20-22 June 2018 VI Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas, Cartagena, Colombia 20-22 June 2018.
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