This publication is one of a series produced under the project ‘Living with risk – sharing knowledge on disaster preparedness in the Himalayan region’, implemented by ICIMOD during a 15-month period in 2006 and 2007. It is based on a review of literature about local knowledge and practices and attempts to give an overview and framework of local knowledge in disaster preparedness, an understanding of its usefulness in disaster management, and the benefits and problems involved.
Since the 1970s, evidence that local knowledge and practices can help implementing organisations to improve disaster preparedness activities has grown; notwithstanding this evidence, the marginalisation of local knowledge and practices by mainstream literature and institutions involved with disaster management continues.
A local knowledge system is composed of different knowledge types, practices and beliefs, values, and world views. Such systems change constantly under the influence of power relations and cross-scale linkages both within and outside the community.
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