Nepal: How indigenous knowledge can be a catalyst for disaster management

Source(s): OnlineKhabar

By Chandra Lal Pandey and Anoj Basnet


Indigenous knowledge systems, which refer to what indigenous people have known and practised from generations to generations, may present many alternatives to governments, scientists, practitioners and local communities on how they should approach different disasters. Indigenous knowledge systems have existed as a part of human life historically and this practice is important as it has shaped how people interact with their environment. Indigenous knowledge can empower members of a community to take leading roles in activities aimed at reducing disaster risks and managing disasters.

However, despite some recognition of the catalyst role of the indigenous knowledge in reducing the risk of disasters and adapting to climate change, this knowledge has not featured prominently in any of the existing disaster policies and disaster science. Instead, most of the disaster risk reduction practitioners, humanitarian organisations, and the government institutions still seem to be doubtful of indigenous knowledge and its relevance and effectiveness for disaster risk reduction and management.


Evidence, recurrently, suggests that communities which have a tremendous amount of indigenous knowledge and information on disaster risk reductions and management have been able to deal with various disasters with a minimum level of external support and guidance. Local people have an abundance of experience and comprehension relating to their local environment and the impacts of potential disasters on them. They have been consolidating their knowledge system on local environment and disasters for long, and this knowledge system can be relied upon to help their communities plan for and better manage disasters in order to reduce the risk and disaster impacts.


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Hazards Flood Landslide
Country and region Nepal
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