The United Nations Sasakawa Award for Disaster Risk Reduction

Miyagi, Japan

Thank you, Mr. Sokkari, for your very kind introduction.

Ladies and gentlemen, good evening. I would like to begin by expressing my deepest gratitude to Madam Margareta Wahlstrom.

Let me also thank the panel of independent judges for the time and effort spent in selecting the winner, who will be announced later this evening. I also wish to offer my sincere appreciation to all staff members who cooperated in preparing for this ceremony. 

Disasters take place around the world with unsettling frequency, disrupting the lives of individuals, with often irreversible consequences. As an organization specializing in humanitarian aid, The Nippon Foundation has been engaging in disaster relief and recovery not only within Japan but overseas for many years.  

Based on our firsthand experience of the grave impact that disasters have on human life, we established the Sasakawa Award program with the United Nations 30 years ago. The aim was to establish a global platform to pool and share knowledge and experience that can be utilized to reduce the impact of natural disasters for everyone.

Over the decades, disaster risk reduction has moved from a narrowly perceived technical discipline, to a more broad-based global movement with a focus on sustainable development. It is exciting to know that the Sasakawa Award is evolving with this trend and that in recent years initiatives  receiving the Sasakawa Award are becoming more and more innovative and diverse.

The 2015 theme is “Shaping the Future.” Under this theme, this year, we received the highest number of nominations from the most diverse group of individuals and organizations. I am looking forward to meeting the winners of the 2015 Sasakawa Award shortly hereafter, and hearing from them about how they hope to contribute toward realizing a safer future for their communities and the greater society.

In closing, I would like to convey my appreciation to the UNISDR for their dedication to realize what the Sasakawa Award program has been aiming for since its inception.

And I would like to express my deep respect, again, to all the organizations and individuals who have continued to work for DRR.

Thank you.