SE21: Indigenous Knowledge for Disaster Risk Reduction

  • ID: SE21
  • Date & Time: Wednesday 17 June (13:30 - 15:00)
  • Room: 16
  • Participation: Open
  • Organizer: SAARC Disaster, Management Centre, Kyoto University, ICIMOD, UNISDR
  • Focal Point: dharc (at), shaw (at)


The diverse communities in hazard prone areas around the world have for Centuries learnt to live, cope with and reduce the risks from various natural disasters through the indigenous knowledge (IK) which they have inherited from the time tested experiences of generations and internalized through a process of socialization. Originated within communities, this vast knowledge capital has helped in building the community resilience and enhancing their coping mechanisms. Available within cultural practices and using the traditional languages, skills, and the materials based on local ecology, construction methods, rituals, folklores etc, the indigenous knowledge is an integral component of human and social capital at the community level which is often not recognized; on the contrary it is under continuous threats of becoming extinct by the onslaught of the so-called modern and quick fix solutions which are conceptualized in an altogether different milieu and implanted in traditional communities in transition. It is therefore important to document, learn, revive and replicate wherever possible such knowledge and practices and further synergize this with modern scientific knowledge, especially in the context of promoting community based disaster risk reduction (CBDRR) and Climate Change Adaptation Strategies (CCA) strategies. Based on the case studies drawn from South Asian region, the side-event, besides building awareness and sharing the experiences, aims at highlighting the potential of indigenous knowledge for disaster risk reduction and intends to discuss how the community driven practices on indigenous knowledge could be integrated in the governmental policies and receive priority for the stakeholders at different levels.

The objectives of the Side-event:

• Discuss the various aspects of indigenous knowledge in relation to disaster risk reduction at community level;
• Examine the methodology, tools and techniques to document indigenous knowledge in multi-hazard scenarios;
• Identify the suitable strategies and practices promoting indigenous knowledge for community based disaster risk reduction;
• Develop insights on linking the indigenous knowledge practices to the disaster risk reduction policies, programmes and priorities by the stakeholders;
• Promote regional cooperation to facilitate indigenous knowledge as a means for disaster risk reduction.

Background Papers

> Indigenous Knowledge for Disaster Risk Reduction [PDF, 147.40 Kb]


> Indigenous and Scientific Knowledge for DRR [PPT, 7.05 Mb]

> Transferable indigenous knowledge: Education process and policy [PPT, 8.96 Mb]

> Indigenous Knowledge for Disaster Risk Reduction in China -Brief Introduction and Some Examples [PDF, 2.96 Mb]


Note: this is an interim report pending publication of the Conference Proceedings from the 2009 Global Platform.

> Report from SE21 [DOC, 83.50 Kb]

Related Links

> Compilation of National Progress Reports on the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action: HFA Priority 3, core indicator 3.2

Last updated: 04 December 2020