DRES Receives UN Sasakawa Award

DRES Receives UN Sasakawa Award
DRES Receives UN Sasakawa Award

Iran has been conferred the 2017 United Nations Sasakawa Award for Disaster Reduction along with Portugal and Brazil.  

The prize was given to the Organization for Developing, Renovating and Equipping Schools (DRES), affiliated to the Education Ministry, at the fifth official award ceremony of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in Cancun, Mexico on May 25.

The organization has been recognized for its efforts in renovating and retrofitting classrooms and harnessing the potential of philanthropists, IRNA reported.  

Esmail Najjar, deputy interior minister and chief of the National Disaster Management Organization headed Iran’s delegation at the ceremony and Iran’s ambassador to Mexico, Mohammad Taqi Husseini, received the award on behalf of DRES.

Besides the three winning countries, a certificate was awarded to Fiji for its achievements in the field.

The biennial Sasakawa Award is given to an individual or institutions that have taken active efforts in reducing disaster risk in their communities as well as advocating disaster risk reduction.

It is jointly organized by the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) and the Nippon Foundation and comes with a grant up to $50,000 shared among the winners. To date, more than 100 people have received the award.

It is one of the three prestigious prizes established in 1986 by the founding chairman of the Nippon Foundation, Ryoichi Sasakawa. The other two are the World Health Organization’s Sasakawa Health Prize and the UN Environment Program’s Sasakawa Environment Prize.

The Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction is a biennial forum for information exchange, discussion of latest developments, knowledge and partnership-building across sectors, with the goal of improving implementation of disaster risk reduction through better communication and coordination amongst stakeholders.

Its core function is to enable governments, NGOs, scientists, practitioners, and UN agencies to share experience and formulate strategic guidance for the implementation of global disaster risk reduction agreements: the 2005 Hyogo Framework for Action and its post-2015 successor the Sendai Framework.

 Safer Schools

Last year (ended in March) under a school renovation project in Iran, 4,230 schools were renovated and retrofitted to augment educational spaces and provide safe school environments.

The project covered 17,143 classrooms (around 3% of all classrooms in the country), according to Mohammad Taqi Nazarpour, deputy minister of education and head of DRES.

More than 20-30% of educational spaces in Iran are built with financial assistance from philanthropists.  In the previous year, philanthropists contributed $90 million (3,600 billion rials) to DRES for construction and renovation of schools in deprived areas.

In the past 11 years (2005-2016), philanthropists have contributed $700 million (28,000 billion rials) for building schools in the country.  

During the present government’s tenure, the official said 36,000 classrooms were constructed on five million sq m of land, and among them 12,000 classrooms (30%) were paid for by patrons.

There are more than 14 million students in Iran. About five million are studying at the primary, five million in middle and two million at the high school levels.

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