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Mercer J.,CAFOD | Kelman I.,CICERO Center for International Climate and Environmental Research
Disaster Prevention and Management | Year: 2010

Purpose: The paper aims to further understand the contribution of indigenous knowledge to disaster risk reduction through reviewing the experiences of Baliau village situated on Manam Island in Madang Province, Papua New Guinea. Design/methodology/approach: Indigenous strategies for disaster risk reduction were identified through participatory group discussions with community members, including a strengths-weaknesses-opportunities-threats analysis. Findings: The paper outlines how indigenous knowledge was used for disaster risk reduction and to cope with enforced evacuation. It demonstrates the need for community consultation alongside the benefits of applying the sustainable livelihoods approach to better understand volcano-related opportunities, rather than just focusing on the volcano's threats. Practical implications: Indigenous knowledge has both relevance and applicability when applied to disaster risk reduction. Communities should be consulted at all stages of disaster risk reduction and disaster response in order to ensure the relevance and applicability of any strategy. Originality/value: Through a new case study, this paper explores the contributions of indigenous knowledge to disaster risk reduction and outlines the disruption of evacuation upon indigenous communities. Lessons learnt for future evacuation and rehabilitation scenarios are outlined through application of the sustainable livelihoods approach. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Mercer J.,CAFOD | Kelman I.,CAFOD | Taranis L.,CAFOD | Suchet-Pearson S.,CAFOD
Disasters | Year: 2010

A growing awareness of the value of indigenous knowledge has prompted calls for its use within disaster risk reduction. The use of indigenous knowledge alongside scientific knowledge is increasingly advocated but there is as yet no clearly developed framework demonstrating how the two may be integrated to reduce community vulnerability to environmental hazards. This paper presents such a framework, using a participatory approach in which relevant indigenous and scientific knowledge may be integrated to reduce a community's vulnerability to environmental hazards. Focusing on small island developing states it presents an analysis of the need for such a framework alongside the difficulties of incorporating indigenous knowledge. This is followed by an explanation of the various processes within the framework, drawing on research completed in Papua New Guinea. This framework is an important first step in identifying how indigenous and scientific knowledge may be integrated to reduce community vulnerability to environmental hazards. © 2009 Overseas Development Institute.

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