Averted Disaster Award

Making Invisible Successes Visible
Launching 2022


The Averted Disaster Award is the premier recognition of successful disaster mitigation interventions that go unnoticed precisely because of their success. It recognizes proactive interventions implemented around the world that help ensure that communities continue to function, thrive, and recover quickly in the face of disaster risk.

While the news often highlights catastrophes, they don’t focus on the buildings that stayed standing due to earthquake-resistant building codes, the wildfires avoided due to effective forest management, or the early-warning systems that saved lives in a typhoon. In the world of Disaster Risk Management (DRM), success means ‘nothing happens’ and as a result can cause policy makers and society at large to undervalue the importance of proactive intervention. The Averted Disaster Award sheds light on successes in DRM and ‘what might have been’ to recognize the outstanding work of those who invest in measures that keep our communities and world safe.

Do you know of a successful disaster mitigation effort that you think deserves praise? We invite individuals, project teams and organisations of all sizes, regions, and industries  to submit applications that highlight successful interventions..

The winning applicant(s) will receive up to five cash grants and tickets to attend Understanding Risk 2022. The intervention highlighted in the winning application will be featured in a documentary at Understanding Risk 2022.

The field of disaster risk management faces the challenge of its failures being catastrophic while its successes go unnoticed. The Averted Disaster Award recognizes the innumerable successful interventions implemented worldwide and helps ensure society continues to function, thrive, and recover quickly in the face of disaster. This is urgent work worth celebrating!

Shedding Light on Invisible Successes

There is a pressing need to recognise and celebrate good decisions as well as to create incentives for further investment in disaster mitigation. Focusing attention on successes will help sustain and amplify efforts that already exist, and enable learning and sharing of positive examples that can be emulated or scaled.

Numerous situations will tend to make successful disaster risk management invisible. These include:

  • Success made invisible by nature of the success
  • Success made invisible in the midst of broader disaster
  • Success made invisible due to yet unrealized benefits
  • Success made invisible by the randomness of the specific outcome

Read “The ADA Story” for further details on these invisible successes, or read Lallemant, Rabonza et al. 2022, “Shedding light on avoided disasters: Measuring the invisible benefits of disaster risk management using probabilistic counterfactual analysis.”