GFMC: Laureate of the United Nations Sasakawa Award for Disaster Reduction 2001

10 September  2001

Following a thorough examination of the23 nominations received in 2001 in the context of the selection process for the14th United Nations Sasakawa Award for Disaster Reduction, the Jury for the Sasakawa, composed of high-level international experts in the field of disaster reduction, selected unanimously the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC) of Freiburg, Germany, as the Laureate 2001 of the United Nations Sasakawa Award for Disaster Reduction. The Jury thereby wishes to reward the GFMC for its long-term commitment and dedication to the issue of disaster reduction, and for its successful efforts in reducing concretely wildfires worldwide, both in terms of research activities and their related field application.

The UN Sasakawa Award for Disaster Reduction 2001 Trophy

The message of the Secretary-General of theUnited Nations, Mr. Kofi Anan:





“Countering Disasters, Targeting Vulnerability”

10 October 2001

The annual observance of the International Day for Disaster Reduction offers an opportunity for the world community to focus its attention on preventing natural disasters and improving the way we deal with the consequences. The past year has seen no let-up in the growing incidence of natural disasters. Powerful earthquakes struck India, El Salvador, and Peru; floods ravaged Africa and South Asia; droughts continued to plague Afghanistan, Central America, and Sri Lanka; and volcanic activity has again struck Ecuador. The global toll of devastation and death has left families and economies reeling. And in some cases, natural disasters can amplify man-made emergencies, as we are all too aware of unfolding events in Afghanistan.

Along with the growing number of natural disasters, vulnerability is also increasing. While no country is entirely safe, poorer countries, in particular, lack the capacity to and prevent and prepare for disasters. With the urban population of developing countries has reached more than 1.3 billion, people are forced to inhabit disaster-prone areas such as floodplains and deforested lands. Inadequate planning and land‑usefurther raise the risks.

The International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) aims to limit the losses and suffering. The strategy calls on local communities to mobilize, for example by developing risk maps and early warning systems. It urges Governments to create and enforce strict building codes. And it seeks to exploit scientific and technical knowledge to devise responses that go beyond short-term humanitarian assistance. United Nations agencies and their partners are strongly committed to carrying out this strategy by bringing people and expertise together in the search for solutions.

Natural hazards will always challenge us. But itis within our power to ensure that poverty does not turn hazards into unmanageable disasters. And it is within our power to join forces, address the immense complexities of disaster reduction, and build a world of resilient communities and nations equipped to counter the adverse impact of natural hazards and related environmental and technological disasters.


On behalf of the GFMC, Mr. Goldammer thanked all the contributors to the Global Fire Monitoring Center network for their continuous and enthusiastic work to establish this global information system at the interface between wildland fire science, management and policy development. He thanked especially the members of the UN-FAO/ECE Team of Specialists for their outstanding and volunteer contributions to the UN system.


The GFMC staff congratulates the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the United Nations for being awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace 2001


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