The Averted Disaster Award Opens Its Third Call for Recognizing Global Disaster Mitigation Successes

18 October 2023

Singapore – The Averted Disaster Award, dedicated to acknowledging successful disaster mitigation efforts worldwide, has officially launched its third call for nominations.  

Every year, natural disasters wreak havoc, claiming lives, devastating communities, and imposing substantial economic costs on the global economy. Yet, behind the scenes, disaster risk professionals and organizations work tirelessly to mitigate these catastrophic events. While media coverage often focuses on disasters, it rarely sheds light on successes; the structures saved due to earthquake-resistant building codes, the wildfires averted through effective forest management, or the lives spared thanks to timely evacuations. Disaster risk management (DRM) often faces the paradox that its failures are highly visible, while its successes go unnoticed.  

The Averted Disaster Award’s purpose is to spotlight achievements in DRM that often go unnoticed as a result of their success.  Applications are welcome from individuals, project teams, and organizations of all sizes, across various regions and industries.  The nominator does not need to have been directly involved in the intervention. Submission deadline is January 12, 2024. 

Interventions take many forms. The most obvious interventions are structural in nature, such as sea-walls or reinforced bridges. Certain activities, such as controlled forest burns, count as interventions too, since they reduce future wildfire risk. Financial products that manage disaster risk, such as flood insurance schemes, count as interventions as well. Interventions can also occur at the individual or community scale, where, for example, placing sandbags to protect critical locations such as grocery stores or hospitals can ensure that the community as a whole can recover more quickly from flash floods. It is important to keep in mind that interventions are proactive and not reactive: interventions are generally pre-meditated and implemented before the disaster occurs. 

The winning submission receives travel, accommodations and a complimentary ticket for one person to attend Understanding Risk 2024, in Tokyo Japan where the intervention will be announced as the winner and celebrated during a session.  Understanding Risk is the world’s largest forum for perspectives and innovations in global DRM.  Additionally, a documentary short film will be developed to showcase the intervention and featured prominently in ADA media and communications content. 

The Averted Disaster Award Selection Committee is composed of thought leaders and practitioners in the field of DRM.   Selection Committee members apply their expertise without bias to review applications and collaborate to determine the shortlist of finalists and winner of the ADA prize. Selection Committee members include: Shanna N. Mcclain. PHD (NASA, Disasters Program Manager), David Lallemant. PHD (Head of Disaster Analytics for Society Lab at Nanyang Technological University and the Earth Observatory of Singapore), Stéphane Hallegatte (Senior Climate Change Adviser at World Bank), and Dr. Olivia Jensen (Lead Scientist, LRF Institute for the Public Understanding of Risk, National University of Singapore). 

Judges assess each application against the following criteria: 1) level of impact of the disaster averted, 2) quality of evidence based results, 3) potential to replicate adapt and scale, 4) levels of inclusivity, equity and focus on the most vulnerable, 5) narrative clarity and contribution to understanding risk and risk mitigation.  The panel considers all case summaries submitted by the deadline, and choose the one that makes the best case for an effective disaster mitigation intervention.  

To date, two organizations have received the Averted Disaster Award. In 2022, the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society was honored for its work implementing a forecast-based financing framework for vulnerable communities in Bangladesh during successive climatic events from May-July 2020. Recently, in October, The Amrita Center for Wireless Networks and Applications earned recognition for its work integrating landslide early warning technology and engaging communities for emergency preparedness and resilience in the Himalayas & Western Ghats regions of India. 

The ADA has also recognized the efforts of other organizations worldwide, including Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (Pakistan), Build Change (Philippines), University of the Philippines Resilience Institute for their Project NOAH, GeoHazards International for their project Landslide Safety Action Plan (India), BBC Media (Kenya), and Prepared International (Jordan, Israel, and Palestine). In the two years of ADA’s existence, nominations have been received for projects from all regions of the world. To discover some of these successful interventions, click here. 

About the Averted Disaster Award 

The Averted Disaster Award 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 an initiative of the Understanding Risk community and is supported by the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR). 

For more information concerning the ADA, or if you or your company is interested in supporting the Averted Disaster Award, please contact