Asia and Pacific UNISDR Informs/Indigenous Knowledge for Disaster Risk Reduction
This Publication has been developed by United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction Asia & Pacific & Kyoto University with the support of European Union.
About UNISDR Regional Office for Asia & Pacific
With over 50% of the total world disasters, the Asia and Pacific Islands region represents the widest and most disaster prone continent in the world, beyond Africa, with a regular and increased frequency of typhoons, tsunamis, floods, droughts, fires and other natural hazards. Despite the wealth of expertise, knowledge and know-how in disaster risk reduction, the increasing population growth, widespread poverty, environmental degradation, rising pollution and wild human settlements keep increasing the vulnerabilities of most communities in Asia and the Pacific Islands, thereby creating a favorable terrain to allow the above natural hazards to transform invariably into devastating disasters wiping out all human lives and economic lifelines on their way, and setting back years of continued development efforts.
In December 2004, the tragic tsunami in the Indian Ocean has heightened the level of awareness of the communities in Asia and the Pacific about the importance of integrating disaster risk reduction into national development planning and reminded them of the need to work together in a coordinated manner to respond to the threat of disasters.
In that spirit, as a direct follow-up to the World Conference on Disaster Reduction (January 2005, Kobe, Japan) and at the request of the 168 UN Member States grouped together on the occasion, the UN/ISDR established a regional presence to cover the whole Asia and Pacific Islands region. The UN/ISDR regional Unit for Asia and the Pacific was set up in June 2005 in Bangkok, Thailand, hosted by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP).
The core mandate of the UN/ISDR Asia & Pacific includes awareness-raising activities in disaster risk reduction, including the promotion of the World Disaster Reduction Campaign and the annual UN Sasakawa Award for Disaster Reduction, advocacy through policy formulation, the dissemination of guidelines to assist in the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA), promote the establishment of national platforms for disaster risk reduction, enhance networking and partnership-building to contribute to an effective culture of safety and protection of all communities in the Asia and Pacific Islands region.
Three specific areas of focus have been identified to guide the work of the UN/ISDR Asia and the Pacific. They include:
(i) The promotion of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) throughout the whole Asia and Pacific Islands region and the forging of partnerships at the regional level to facilitate its implementation, with the effective operational support and expertise of members of the ISDR Asian Partnership on Disaster Reduction (IAP) and other relevant players.
(ii) The follow-up and strengthening of the projects carried out under the United Nations Flash Appeal for the Indian Ocean Tsunami Early Warning System (IOTWS), including an increased cooperation and coordination with relevant technical partners and the donor community. (iii) The development of an effective information management system with comprehensive databases, the maintenance of a regional website, the production of a bi-annual publication “Disaster Reduction in Asia and the Pacific - ISDR Informs”, the dissemination of regional highlights promoting regional partners’ initiatives and relevant events among other.
The UN/ISDR Asia and Pacific Islands works through a growing network of national platforms to mobilize governmental actions in disaster risk reduction as well as directly with the governments in the region, as mandated though the HFA, to assist them in identifying their priorities and in formulating their national action plan on disaster risk reduction towards its integration in national development plans. It also makes an effective use of regional partners’ networks at the national level, in particular the UN Country Team members, to facilitate the effective implementation of DRR strategies.
"Even before we came up with high technology based early warning systems, or standard operating procedures for response, numerous local communities worldwide have prepared, operated, acted, and responded to natural disasters using indigenous methods passed on from one generation to the next."
The publication "Indigenous Knowledge for Disaster Risk Reduction: Good Practices and Lessons Learned from experiences in the Asia-pacific Region", produced by United Nation International Strategy for Disaster Reduction and Kyoto University with the assistance of the European Union, aims to build awareness for indigenous knowledge as an effective tool for reducing risk from natural disasters. By improving the understanding of indigenous knowledge and providing concrete examples of how it can be successfully used, this publication can help all practitioners and policy makers to consider the knowledge hold by local communities and act to integrate this wealth of knowledge into future disaster-related work. "
Good Practices under the Publication
- Karez Technology for Drought Disaster Reduction in China
- Earthquake Safe Traditional House Construction Practices in Kashmir
- Indigenous Knowledge and Modern Science Give Environment Friendly Shelter Solution in Flood Affected Desert Region of India
- India Soil and Water Conservation through Bamboo Plantation: A Disaster Management Technique Adopted by the People of Nandeswar
- Legend, Ritual and Architecture on the Ring of Fire
- Japan Traditional Flood Disaster Reduction Measures in Japan
- Mongolia Indigenous Knowledge for Disaster Risk Reduction of the Shiver Herder Community
- Indigenous Knowledge on Disaster Mitigation: Towards Creating Complementarity between Communities’ and Scientists’ Knowledge
- Local Knowledge on Flood Preparedness: Examples from Nepal and Pakistan
- Indigenous Coping Mechanisms for Disaster Management in Mansehra and Battagram Districts, North West Frontier Province (NWFP), Pakistan
- Living with Floods in Singas, Papua New Guinea
- Combining Indigenous and Scientific Knowledge in the Dagupan City Flood Warning System of Philippinnes
- Indigenous Know-How on Mayon Volcano’s Lava-Spittle Mysticism in Philippines
- Shaped by Wind and Typhoon: The Indigenous Knowledge of the Ivatans in the Batanes Islands, Philippines
- Indigenous Knowledge Saved Lives during 2007 Solomon Islands Tsunami
- Village Tank Cascade Systems: A Traditional Approach to Drought Mitigation and Rural Well-being in the Purana Villages of Sri Lanka
- Thailand Saved by an Old Legend and a Keen Observation: The Case of Moken Sea Nomads in Thailand
- Vietnam Weather Forecasting through Indigenous Knowledge for Crop Cultivation in the Drought Prone Area of Vietnam
China: Karez Technology for Drought Disaster Reduction in China
India: Earthquake Safe Traditional House Construction Practices in Kashmir
Amir Ali Khan, Assistant Professor, National Institute of Disaster Management
Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, New Delhi, India
India: Indigenous Knowledge and Modern Science Give Environment Friendly Shelter Solution in Flood Affected Desert Region of India
Anshu Sharma, SEEDS India, Director: Strategy
India: Soil and Water Conservation through Bamboo Plantation: A Disaster Management Technique Adopted by the People of Nandeswar, Assam
Irene Stephen, UNDP India, Disaster Risk Management Programme
Rajiv Dutta Chowdhury, Disaster Management Branch, Office of the Deputy Commissioner, Goalpara, Assam, India
Debashish Nath, Agriculture Development Officer, Matia Development Block, Goalpara, Assam, India
Indonesia: Legend, Ritual and Architecture on the Ring of Fire
Koen Meyers, UNESCO Jakarta, Technical Advisor for Environmental Sciences
Japan: Traditional Flood Disaster Reduction Measures in Japan
Yukiko Takeuchi, Kyoto University
Rajib Shaw, Kyoto University
Mongolia: Indigenous Knowledge for Disaster Risk Reduction of the Shiver Herder Community
Bolormaa Borkhuu, Ministry of Nature and Environment of Mongolia, Officer, Sustainable Development and Strategic Planning Department
Nepal: Indigenous Knowledge on Disaster Mitigation: Towards Creating Complementarity between Communities’ and Scientists’ Knowledge
Man B. Thapa, UNDP Nepal, Participatory Disaster Management Programme
Nepal/Pakistan: Local Knowledge on Flood Preparedness: Examples from Nepal and Pakistan
Julie Dekens, International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD)
Pakistan: Indigenous Coping Mechanisms for Disaster Management in Mansehra and Battagram Districts, North
West Frontier Province (NWFP), Pakistan
Takeshi Komino, Christian World Service Pakistan
Papua New Guinea: Living with Floods in Singas, Papua New Guinea
Jessica Mercer, Human Geography Department, Division of Environmental and Life Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Philippines: Combining Indigenous and Scientific Knowledge in the Dagupan City Flood Warning System
Lorna P. Victoria, Center for Disaster Preparedness
Philippines: Indigenous Know-How on Mayon Volcano’s Lava-Spittle Mysticism
Philippines: Shaped by Wind and Typhoon: The Indigenous Knowledge of the Ivatans in the Batanes Islands, Philippines
Noralene Uy, Kyoto University
Rajib Shaw, Kyoto University
Solomon Islands: Indigenous Knowledge Saved Lives during 2007 Solomon Islands Tsunami
Brian G. McAdoo, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie New York
Sri Lanka: Village Tank Cascade Systems: A Traditional Approach to Drought Mitigation and Rural Well-being in the Purana Villages of Sri Lanka
C.M. Madduma Bandara, Professor Emeritus, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
Thailand: Saved by an Old Legend and a Keen Observation: The Case of Moken Sea Nomads in Thailand
Narumon Arunotai, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand
Vietnam: Weather Forecasting through Indigenous Knowledge for Crop Cultivation in the Drought Prone Area of Vietnam
Nguyen Ngoc Huy, Kyoto University
Rajib Shaw, Kyoto University
Download the publication
You can download the complete publication from United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction- Asia Pacific