2017 Best Climate Practices Award on “Building local resilience to climate disaster risk”

Note: This is an older edition of the Best Climate Practices Award. All information about the current edition of the contest is available on the Award Section of this website.

2017 Theme: “Building local resilience to climate disaster risk”

In 2017 the Best Climate Practices contest reaches its fifth edition, after the successful experiences of the “Expanding access to climate financing” competition in 2016, the 2015 contest on “Climate Change and Water Availability for Food Production”, the 2014 edition on “Energy Poverty Alleviation” and the first edition in 2013 on “Urban Resilience”.

The focus of the 2017 contest is “Building local resilience to climate disaster risk”.

Floods, drought, heat waves and other extreme weather and climate events pose threats to persons and communities: losses in life and health, economic damages, displacement, and compromise access to basic needs and services, such as water, food, energy, transport, communication or education.

Strategies and actions to cope with climate-related disasters and bounce back quickly are urgently needed. The World Economic Forum’s Global Risks report of 2017 identified extreme weather events as the single most prominent global risk both in terms of likelihood and impact. According to the latest IFRC annual review of global disasters, 108 million people were affected by natural disasters in 2015, around half of whom were hit by drought, a third by floods and 10 percent by storms. Despite broad recognition that investing in resilience can save lives and money, IFRC analyses revealed that only 40 cents of every 100 US dollars spent on international aid is invested in preparedness and measures to reduce disaster risk.

Disaster risk reduction (DRR) entails systematic efforts to reduce those factors that amplify the impacts of natural hazards. It includes such actions as building more resilient infrastructures, investing in disaster preparedness and early warning systems, providing education, training and capacity building, taking advantage of mobile and communication technologies, and developing new tools such as micro insurances and nature-based solutions.

Disaster risk reduction, with its aim to strengthen the resilience of communities to all hazards, is an essential piece of the sustainable development agenda. The Hyogo Framework for Action, which guided disaster risk reduction efforts from 2005 to 2015, already identified the need to integrate DRR and climate change adaptation efforts. The 2015 Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction reiterated the relationship between DRR measures and climate change adaptation and emphasized the need for coordination and coherence in the DRR, climate change, and sustainable development agendas.

Out of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agreed by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015, 10 are strictly tied to the struggle for reducing disaster risk and building resilience. By choosing the theme of the 2017 Contest, the Best Climate Practices observatory focuses the attention on core aspects of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – contributing, among others, to Goal 1 (End poverty in all its forms everywhere), Goal 2 (End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture), Goal 3 (Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages), Goal 11 (Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable), and Goal 13 (Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts).

Although disaster risk reduction efforts are underway, climate change is increasing the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events.

Low-income countries and small islands are the most endangered by climate change impacts, but local communities in both cities and rural areas are exposed to disaster risk in the richest and most developed countries as well. Environmental degradation and socioeconomic factors like poverty and urban population growth contribute to increase communities’ vulnerability to natural hazards.

For these reasons the 2017 Best Climate Practices Contest aims to award and promote actionable ideas and concrete projects designed to support urban and/or rural communities in preparing and responding to climate disasters, improving local resilience through enhanced preparedness (ex-ante) and/or recovery (ex-post) capacity.

Out of +200 proposals received, 19 shortlisted candidates were selected for the evaluation process carried out through online voting polls on the Best Climate Practices platform and the assessment of the 2017 Expert Panel composed by six high-profile experts from international universities and organisations.

Read the full Best Climate Practices 2017 Call for proposals

Key dates

Competition’s start date
March 13, 2017

Competition’s end date
July 17, 2017

Winners announcement
October 13, 2017

2017 Panel of Experts

Carlo Carraro (Chair)

Carlo Carraro is Professor of Environmental Economics at the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. He holds a Ph.D. from Princeton University. He has been President of the University of Venice from 2009 to 2014 and Director of the Department of Economics from 2005 to 2008. In 2008, he was elected Vice-Chair of the Working Group III and Member of the Bureau of the Nobel Laureate Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He has been re-elected in 2015 for a second term.

Paola Albrito 

Paola Albrito is the Chief of Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia at the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR). In her current role, she supported the delivery of disaster risk reduction coordinated actions and partnership development within the Hyogo Framework for Action implementation and braced the preparation of the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030. Paola joined UNISDR in 2004 during the preparations for the Second UN World Conference on Disaster Reduction, where she fed the conference with the Outcome Analysis Document on the status of risk reduction implementation at the global level.
Her previous field experience includes the coordination of Common Country Assessment and the United Nations Development Assistance Framework in Djibouti in the UN Resident Coordinator Office (1999- 2003); support to the UN Country Teams in developing sustainable development policies at the United Nations Staff System College in Turin; and programme evaluations as consultant at the International Labour Organisation.

Elisa Calliari 
Elisa Calliari contributed to several international projects on disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation within FEEM (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei), focusing in particular on the Caribbean Small Island Developing States and Latin American countries (Mexico and Paraguay). She is currently an expert on adaptation in transnational regions for the European Topic Centre on Climate Change impacts, vulnerability and Adaptation (ETC/CCA). She has also contributed to the ENHANCE (Enhancing risk management partnerships for catastrophic natural disasters in Europe) project, focusing on the role of Public-Public Partnerships (PuPs) for disaster risk reduction. Her latest achievements include co-authoring the Italian Climate Change Adaptation Plan and the 2017 Science for Disaster Risk Management Report of the European Union. She is particularly interested in climate negotiations and, in particular, in the issue of Loss and Damage from climate change impacts.

Federica Ranghieri
Federica Ranghieri is Senior Urban and Disaster Risk Management Specialist at the World Bank. She is actually the South Asia Region DRM coordinator, and leads climate resilient projects (CRIP I and II) in Sri Lanka, as well as the Afghanistan DRM program and several analytical works on multi-peril risk assessment, resettlement policies and governance and institutional assessments in India, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. She coordinated the DRM Program at WBI, where she was TTL for the learning and training program on DRM and managed the Learning from Megadisasters project, which led to the Sendai Conference in 2012. She was also part of the WDR 2015 – Managing Risk for Development team. She joined the World Bank in 2004 with the Carbon Finance Business Unit where she developed the Italian Carbon Fund and from 2007 with EAP on Climate Change – Mitigation and Adaptation policies and Disaster Risk Management. Her last assignment before joining the World Bank was as assistant professor at the University of Milan, where she taught undergraduate Environmental Policies, Environmental economics and post graduate Environmental and Social Communication.

Reinhard Mechler
Reinhard Mechler has more than 15 years of experience working on socio-economic aspects related to disaster risk and resilience, and climate change. He currently is deputy director of the ‘Risk & Resilience’ research program at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA). He has been a visiting professor at the University of Graz, as well as a senior lecturer at the University for Economics and Business in Vienna. Reinhard Mechler has been leading and contributing to many international research and consultancy projects. He acted as a lead author on IPCC’s special report on adaptation to extreme events (SREX) and on IPCC’s 5th assessment report (Working group II).

Knud Falk

Knud Falk is Technical Adviser at the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre. Since March 2010, Knud has worked with the Climate Centre in supporting the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement on climate-related programme development and resource mobilization.
He is also involved in Partners for Resilience projects in India, co-developed the Climate Training Kit, and assists in the development of training courses for National Societies. Knud is an expert in the fields of disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation and ecological monitoring. He has a Ph.D. in Arctic ecology from the University of Copenhagen and experience as a teacher and scientist at several other universities. He has also worked for the Danish National Science Foundation, the Danish Polar Center and the Danish Red Cross.

2017 Winners and Awards

Admitted candidates are graded with a score equally weighted between the public online poll’s results and the assessment by the international Expert Panel. The author of the practice receiving the highest score is awarded the prize.

The prize of the 2017 Best Climate Practices Award is 3000 euros (*gross amount subject to withholding tax). Moreover, the Award promotes the winner and other deserving projects in competition through its communication channels and initiatives.

The Expert Panel unanimously elected the project “Balangay Legazpi” as the winner of the Best Climate Practices 2017 Award, confirming the ranking obtained by combining jury members’ assessment and the online vote of our website’s visitors.

Balangay Legazpi is a free cloud-based information system to help communities in Philippines prepare for natural calamities, reducing exposure and vulnerability to disaster risk. The developer is a young web agency, Layertech Software Labs, directed by Frei Sangil and aimed to create socially relevant, tech-based solutions. First implemented in the City of Legazpi, Balangay mobile and web application provides a real-time platform for reliable communication between local government units, academy, private sector, civil society organizations (CSOs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and affected communities. Balangay offers a hazard map, allowing users to see susceptibility of their current location to various hazards, dictionary of Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) terms, survival kit articles and official emergency hotlines.

The 2017 Best Climate Practices winner will receive the prize of 3000 Euros.

The Expert Panel also assigned Special Mentions to two other projects for their high potential of helping vulnerable communities in facing extreme climate-related events such as floods and droughts.

The first Special Mention of the Jury was assigned to the project Amphibious Housing, a building method promoted by the Canadian Buoyant Foundation Project (BFP) and applied in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, a region experiencing increasingly unpredictable and destructive flooding. The project Amphibious Housing was given a Special Mention because of its innovative application of technologies to enhance resilience in flood-prone areas.

A second Special Mention of the Jury has been granted to the project “Promoting Water Stewardship for water and food security in semi-arid regions“, for its behavioral approach addressing the social inclusiveness dimension of Disaster Risk Reduction and for its capacity to increase active engagement of communities living in water-scarce regions. The Water Stewardship Initiative is developed by Watershed Organization Trust (WOTR) and includes water budgeting, micro irrigation for agriculture, weather-related crop-advisories delivered to farmers via SMS and daily monitoring of rainfall through rain gauges.

The final results and the winner of the Best Climate Practices 2017 Award were announced on International Day for Disaster Reduction, October 13.

The winners of the Best Climate Practices 2017 Award presented their projects during a webinar organized on November 8, 2017, together with experts and scientists discussing the landscape and challenges of climate resilience and disaster risk reduction strategies.