About Aga Khan Agency for Habitat
To address the increasing threat posed by natural disasters and climate change, the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) works to ensure that poor people live in physical settings that are as safe as possible from the effects of natural disasters; that residents who do live in high-risk areas are able to cope with disasters in terms of preparedness and response; and that these settings provide access to social and financial services that lead to greater opportunity and a better quality of life.
The Aga Khan Agency for Habitat was created in 2016 by bringing together several AKDN agencies and programmes that had been established to tackle issues related to improving habitats and resources. These component parts include:
The Aga Khan Planning and Building Services
Originally a separate agency, as part of AKAH the Aga Khan Plannning and Building Services work to improve human habitats, particularly safe housing design and earthquake-resistant construction, village planning and natural hazard mitigation, water supply and sanitation, and improved indoor living conditions, mainly for rural communities.
Focus Humanitarian Response
Originally a separate agency, as part of AKAH it extends humanitarian relief following natural or man-made disasters. It also prepares people living in vulnerable communities to mitigate against, respond to and recover from hazards. In the recovery stage, FOCUS helps communities rebuild so they can function on their own, protect against future hazards and return to normal development activity and progress. Note: Focus Humanitarian Response activities in the USA, Canada, Europe and Africa do not become part of AKAH.
The Disaster Risk Management Initiative
Originally a separate programme, as part of AKAH it is a focal point for the coordination of the AKDN’s risk reduction activities, particularly in Central Asia – much of which is hazard-prone yet lacks basic standards of structural and non-structural safety and preparedness.
The Aga Khan Rural Support Programmes
Habitat-related activities of these programmes have been transferred to the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat. Established in 1983, these programmes grew out of a need to better manage scarce natural resources, including water, food, fodder, and energy, which had been threatened both by climatic and man-made challenges. Since then, they have also helped farmers generate alternative sources of incomes and communities explore biogas projects, windmills and solar energy in response to increasing climatic changes.
The Prince Sadruddin Fund for the Environment
Originally a part of the Aga Khan Foundation, as part of AKAH it works to develop sustainable natural resources through education, area development and related research that addresses existing issues in the developing world. The intention is to assist populations that are most threatened by their natural surroundings, while working to protect fragile ecosystems that are vulnerable to the effects of poorly planned human activity.
Awards Received by the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat
The programmes of the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat have won a number of awards, including: 2015 Times of India Social Impact Award (India); 2012 Zayed Energy Prize (Abu Dhabi); 2011 Ashden Award (UK); 2009 UN Sasakawa Award for Disaster Reduction Certificate of Merit; 2009 Dubai International Award for Best Practices; 2009 Partnership for Clean Indoor Air Global Leadership Award (Uganda); 2009 and 2010 National Energy Globe Award (Czech Republic); 2006 Sitara-e-Eisaar (for earthquake relief in Pakistan); 2005 ALCAN Prize for Sustainability (Canada); and 2006 World Habitat Award (UK).