Camotes Island wins 2011 UN Sasakawa Award for disaster risk reduction


A May 18, 2011 press release prepared by the Department of Foreign Affairs
The municipality of San Francisco in Camotes Island, Cebu was awarded the prestigious 2011 United Nations Sasakawa Award for Disaster Risk Reduction in Geneva on May 14.
In receiving the award, Vice Mayor Alfredo Arquillano stated that he was honored but at the same time, humbled by the accolade.
He explained that the town’s “purok system” has propelled it to become resilient, utilizing indigenous knowledge to disseminate critical information and risk assessment, waste segregation, delivery of health services, and related activities at the household level.
“Think big, start small,” Vice Mayor Arquillano emphasized.
He added that he will continue to mobilize the people of his town, as well as neighboring communities, to further improve their resiliency against disasters.
The UN Sasakawa Award recognizes excellence in reducing disaster risk. Winners are selected among numerous nominees from around the world through an intensive judging process.
From the Philippines, nominees also included Makati City, the municipality of Saint Bernard in Leyte, and Governor Joey Salceda of Albay Province.
The nominees carried out internationally recognized action that contributes to the goals and priorities of the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005 – 2015.
For 2011, the focus of the award was on local action in line with the UN’s “Making Cities Resilient” Campaign.
Organizers further explained that the criteria for the award emphasized sustainability of projects despite resource constraints, and putting people first.
Other stakeholders which were recognized during the awarding were North Vancouver, Canada; Santa Fe, Argentina; Bhubaneswar, India; the Coordination Center for Natural Disaster Prevention in Central America (CEPREDENAC), and the Pakistani Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA).
The Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015 is a global blueprint for disaster risk reduction efforts during the next decade. Its goal is to substantially reduce disaster losses by 2015 – in lives, and in the social, economic, and environmental assets of communities and countries.