Local wisdom for disaster prevention and mitigation: The “Pikukuh” regulations within the West Javanese Baduy community in Indonesia

Source(s): Mexico, Indonesia, Republic of Korea, Türkiye and Australia
Members of Baduy community must strictly follow the pikukuh when constructing a house.
Danung Arifin

As a disaster-prone country, Indonesia has long been familiar with natural hazards. Even before advanced technology arrived, our Indonesian ancestors developed their own ways to prevent and mitigate disasters – and to live in harmony with natural hazards. This local wisdom has been passed through generations and still remains effective.

One example of local wisdom that is still being well implemented today to prevent disasters can be found within the Baduy community in West Java, Indonesia. This community lives in a mountainous area, surrounded by rivers, with an average ground inclination of around 45°. Under these condistions, the Baduy people face earthquakes, flooding, and landslide hazards.

Despite the numerous natural hazards in the area, there are no recorded flooding events. Furthermore, there is very little – if any – recorded building damage when earthquakes have occured. This is due to a strict local regulation – known as pikukuh – that the community enforces amongst its members.

Members of Baduy community must strictly follow the pikukuh when constructing a house. Community members are only permitted to use certain materials to build their houses, such as bamboo, rattan, and tree fibers. In addition, the houses cannot directly touch the ground. Both of these rules contribute to increasing the buildings’ flexibility when earthquakes occur. Furthermore, the houses must be built to follow the contour of the ground: no alteration to the ground contour is allowed. This rule ensures that the soil can carry out its function of bsorbing water, thereby mitigating flood and landslide hazards.

Members of Baduy community must strictly follow the pikukuh when constructing a house.
Source: Danung Arifin


Members of Baduy community must strictly follow the pikukuh when constructing a house.
Source: Danung Arifin
MIKTA Disaster Risk Reduction Joint Advocacy Campaign

MIKTA is a diverse and cross-regional grouping of powers that brings together Mexico, Indonesia, the Republic of Korea, Turkey and Australia. Given the growing challenges our planet is faced with, including disasters from droughts, desertification, loss of biodiversity, food shortages, water scarcity, wildfires, and sea-level rise, MIKTA has reiterated its commitment to investing more in research, innovation and infrastructure to strengthen environmental sustainability, adaptation, and resilience against the adverse effects of climate change and disaster risks. In line with this commitment, MIKTA undertakes a joint advocacy campaign highlighting the triple benefits of investing in prevention to accelerate disaster risk reduction, protect development gains and build resilient communities.

The campaign promotes diverse local and regional examples of efforts by the MIKTA members to strengthen disaster risk resilience through investing in prevention. Through sharing of experiences and good practice, the campaign aims to strengthen global adaptation and resilience efforts and build global consensus around the need to accelerate disaster risk reduction efforts.

This article is part of a series of impact stories to generate ideas and solutions in line with the overarching and main themes identified for GP2022.

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