Islamabad, Pakistan, 3 December 2020 - The Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) won the World Habitat Awards 2020 Gold Award today for its “Integrating Indigenous Knowledge and Technology for Safer Habitat” project.
In the winning project, AKAH pioneered the use of Hazard Vulnerability and Risk Assessments (HVRAs), which integrate science, technology and local knowledge for disaster risk management and sustainable habitat planning and development.
Reflecting the importance of this work, Prince Rahim Aga Khan, Chair of AKDN’s Environment and Climate Committee, said: “For decades the AKDN has been working with vulnerable communities to improve quality of life and reduce disaster risk. Today in the face of the climate crisis, understanding and mitigating these risks is even more urgent. Only by helping these communities adapt and thrive in harmony with their often-precarious habitat can we hope to mitigate the effects of climate change.”
Maimunah Mohd Sharif, UN-Habitat Executive Director, said: “UN-Habitat commends 'Integrating Indigenous Knowledge and Technology for Safer Habitat' because of its community-based planning and risk management approach, integrating local knowledge. This is very much in line with UN-Habitat’s belief that when developing, formulating and implementing tools, policies and programmes, we should place people at the centre of our thinking and action.”
One of the judges of the award, Leilani Farha, Global Director of The Shift, former UN Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, said: “This project, led by the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat, Pakistan, is the embodiment of a human rights approach to climate change adaptation policies. This novel project manages to combine indigenous knowledge, community involvement and technological advancements to ensure resilient, sustainable communities capable of living in dignity, security and peace amidst the rising threat of climate-induced disasters.”