Meet the Filipino Scientist Who Won the 2022 United Nations Sasakawa Award
Out of 200 nominations for the United Nations' (UN) Sasakawa Award for Disaster Risk Reduction, it was Filipino scientist Glenn Banaguas who took home the honors—making him the first-ever Filipino individual to be given the recognition.
For this year, the awards has the overarching theme of "Recognizing excellence in reducing disaster risk for a safer, more sustainable world." The Sasakawa Award is given to individuals, groups, and institutions that develop innovative, all-inclusive disaster-risk-reduction practices in line with the body's Sendai Framework. This model suggests that the state has the primary mandate of reducing such risks, with help from various partners and institutions.
"I extend my thanks and gratitude to the organizers of the UN Sasakawa Award for recognizing Climate Smart Philippines’ efforts to empower people from all walks of life to develop evidence-based, humane, and gender-responsive solutions," Banaguas said during the awards ceremony in Bali, Indonesia on Wednesday, May 25.
As the president and founder of the Environmental and Climate Change Research Institute (ECCRI), Banaguas headed Climate Smart Philippines, which happens to be the organization's flagship program.
It hopes to turn research into action by mitigating the disasters and losses caused by climate change through research partnerships between scientific experts and various stakeholders.
Banaguas is known as one of the Asia's leading experts on environment, climate change, and disaster risks. The Sasakawa awardee happens to be a diplomat and educator, too.
Before the accolade, his list of recognitions already included the Outstanding Young Scientist Awardee from the National Academy of Science and Technology, The Outstanding Filipino Laureate (TOFIL), and the Asia Leaders Awardee for Sustainable Leadership.
Meanwhile, in the Organization category, Quezon City-based non-profit Save the Children-Philippines also bagged a 2022 Sasakawa Award. It was honored for its Comprehensive School Safety Ecosystems and Quality Assurance System programs that help minimize the impacts of disruptions to basic education, allowing for risk-informed, responsive, and resilient communities.
They join past winners from the Philippines such as the City of San Francisco, Agusan Del Sur in 2011 and the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific's Typhoon Committee in 1988.
According to the latest World Risk Index, the Philippines is the eighth most exposed and vulnerable country in the world in terms of natural disasters.