A project to develop an early warning system for water resources in the Inkomati Basin, which is shared by South Africa, Mozambique and Eswatini, has been unveiled as the winner of the 2023 RISK Award.
The €100,000 (US$110,000) award went to the South African-based non-profit the Association for Water and Rural Development (AWARD) during a virtual ceremony hosted by the UN Office for Disaster Reduction (UNDRR) and the Munich Re Foundation, which is also the sponsor of the award.
Dr Sharon Pollard, executive director of AWARD, said, “It offers us the opportunity to co-develop an early warning system with the communities most at risk.”
The project aims to address risks such as water insecurity, floods and drought, and health-related risks from water pollution, particularly, e-coli and arsenic.
“These risks are likely to amplify under climate change and one of the things we noticed is that communities don’t know about these risks,” said Dr Pollard.
Renate Bleich, chair of the Munich Re Foundation, said, “Together with UNDRR we decided that this year’s RISK Award would be taking place under the topic of climate resilience and early warning because there is still a large part of the world not covered by early warning.”
This year the award received 200 proposals from 72 countries, which is a record.
Mami Mizutori, the UN secretary-general’s special representative for disaster risk reduction, said, “Your work is a testament to the important role that non-profits play in reducing risks for the most vulnerable. We need more organizations like AWARD because we need to scale up our commitments and work and this can’t be done by governments alone.”
She also noted the significance of adopting an all-of-society approach to disaster prevention, as called for in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, where governments, businesses and civil society all work together.
The RISK Award started in 2012 and is given to operational projects in the field of disaster risk reduction. The prize is awarded every two years based on the recommendation of an international jury. The endowment for the RISK Award is provided by the Munich Re Foundation.
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