When innovation meets traditional knowledge – The 2017 RISK Award winner will be announced in Cancun

End of May, the UNDRR' Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction' will take place in Cancun, Mexico. This is one of the world’s most important gatherings to improve global disaster prevention. During a ceremony on 24 May 2017, we will – together with our partners UNDRR and GRF Davos – announce the 2017 RISK Award.

Cutting-edge plans to harness the power of technology and curb the threats posed by hazards such as floods and epidemics were proposed , three have been shortlisted. After intense deliberations over the ten best entrants, the jury of the 2017 edition of the RISK Award made a final cut of projects in Kenya, Nepal and India.

Issued every two years by the Munich Re Foundation, the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and the Global Risk Forum Davos, the RISK Award honours innovative plans and approaches to reducing risk and enhancing disaster management, with a 100,000-euro prize enabling the entrants to move from the drawing board to the real thing. This edition’s theme is "Information and Communication: Innovative Concepts and Technologies for DRR and DRM", with the entrants presenting digital projects to help communities better anticipate disasters.

“Today, more than 85% of the world's population has a mobile phone or a smartphone. This opens up new ways to transmit the information needed to reduce disaster mortality and achieve the main goal of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, which is to increase the resilience of nations and communities,” said Mr. Robert Glasser, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, who is one of the eight members of the RISK Award jury.

Three projects on the final straight

The project in Kenya focuses on warning farmers about flood risk in Busia, in the southwest of the country. It aims to create a mobile application that integrates indigenous traditional knowledge and modern climate science and issues early warning messages to some 15,000 subsistence-farmer families in flood-prone parts of Budalang’i district.

The second project proposes to equip nurses in Nepal with monitoring and surveillance tools to prevent and control infectious diseases after disasters. The “EpiNurse” project – short for “Epidemiology Nurse” – will train health workers in earthquake-prone urban areas to act as health security monitors. Information collected through the monitoring process will feed a database to further develop models for supporting risk-management decisions in disaster situations and to reduce future risks.

The third project involves developing a micro-insurance application to help communities in India recover faster from disasters linked to environmental and climate change. It aims to give farmers the possibility to pay insurance premiums according to their real risks and demands. The project targets poor farmers in flood-prone areas of North Bihar, who will be able to save money and recover faster after disasters.

“Innovative concepts and technologies for information and communication play an increasingly important role in disaster risk management and disaster risk reduction. The more efficiently these tools are used, the more people at risk can be reached before, during or after an emergency,” said jury member Mr. Thomas Loster, Chairman of the Munich Re Foundation. “With the 2017 RISK Award we serve this important goal”.

20 April 2017, original text from Brigitte Leonie, UNDRR: >more


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