HOW ADA STARTED
The Averted Disaster Award Recognizes Successful Initiatives in Disaster Risk Management
The ADA Prize is built upon the efforts of Prof. David Lallemant, Maricar Rabonza, Dr. Yolanda Lin, and members of the Disaster Analytics for Society Lab at NTU in Singapore. Their work highlights how successful DRM interventions are often rendered invisible as a result of the very nature of their success, and the corresponding challenges that arise when incentivizing interventions to reduce risk. They propose the use of counterfactual risk analysis as a means to make ‘avoided disasters’ visible, by shedding light on what could have been had a risk reduction intervention not been implemented. Their work will be featured as a contributing paper in the upcoming UNDRR Global Assessment Report 2022. A preprint of the paper can be accessed with this link.
Every year, disasters caused by natural hazards claim thousands of lives, destroy communities around the world, and costs the global economy billions of dollars. But without the work of disaster risk professionals and organizations, this destruction could be much, much worse.
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 lives saved thanks to timely evacuations. The field of disaster risk management (DRM) faces the challenge that its failures are catastrophic while its successes go unnoticed. The Averted Disaster Award is the world’s first prize for successful disaster mitigation interventions that go unnoticed precisely because of their success.
In the world of Disaster Risk Management, success means ‘nothing happens’: this can lead policy makers and society at large to undervalue the importance of proactive intervention. This award aims to shed light on successes in DRM to recognize the outstanding work of those who invest in measures that keep our communities and world safe. 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.
The Averted Disaster Award is open to submissions from individuals, project teams and organizations of all sizes, regions and industries who wish to see particular interventions recognized. The nominator does not need to have been directly involved in the mitigation intervention. The submissions will close on April 15, 2022 and they can be in any structure or format (narrative text, video, slides, etc.), but the written portion is limited to a maximum of 5 pages.
The winning applicant(s) will receive up to five cash grants and tickets to attend Understanding Risk 2022, Novemeber 28 to December 2, in Brazil, where the award ceremony will be held. The intervention highlighted in the winning application will be featured in a documentary at the event.
The Averted Disaster Award, launched at UR Asia 2021, is built upon the work of Assistant Professor David Lallemant, Maricar Rabonza, Dr. Yolanda Lin and members of the Disaster Analytics for Society Lab at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Their work highlights how successful DRM interventions are rendered invisible as a result of their success and the corresponding challenges of incentivizing interventions that reduce risk. They propose the use of counterfactual risk analysis as a means to make ‘avoided disasters’ visible, by shedding light on ‘what could have been’ had a risk reduction intervention not been implemented. The work will be featured as a contributing paper in the upcoming UNDRR Global Assessment Report 2022 (UNDRR is the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction).
“In the face of disaster and climate risks, ‘nothing happening’ is extraordinary. We believe that the benefits of a risk reduction intervention can be shown and measured even if they seem invisible. By imagining what could have happened, we can make convincing arguments about the value of particular interventions.” Asst. Prof. David Lallemant, Principal Investigator at the Earth Observatory of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
“In a world of ever-increasing environmental shocks, there is a pressing need to celebrate good risk management. We need to create, sustain and amplify efforts that already exist and enable learning and sharing of positive examples that can be emulated and scaled.”
Francis Ghesquiere, Practice Manager (Singapore based), The World Bank.
The Averted Disaster Award
The award was announced at Understanding Risk Asia 2021 in Singapore, a hybrid 2-day event held jointly organised by the Lloyd’s Register Foundation Institute for the Public Understanding of Risk at the National University of Singapore, and the World Bank in Singapore. UR Asia 2021 brought together experts and practitioners from all around the world to showcase the best practices and latest innovations in the field of disaster risk identification and communication, and to facilitate non-traditional interactions and partnerships.
The UR community was born out of the recognition that disaster risk assessment and identification were activities that cut across sectors and industries, and comprises over 13,000 experts and practitioners interested and active in the creation, communication and use of disaster risk information. This network has inspired innovation by sharing and applying best practices, developing technological solutions, and enabling cross-sector partnerships.
Additional information about nomination requirements can be found at: www.averteddisasteraward.org. Nominations are now open and will close on April 15, 2022.