25.02.2013 - UNESCO Office in Jakarta

Philippines National Workshop on Validation of Local and Indigenous Knowledge on Disaster Risk Reduction and Management in Small Island and Coastal Communities

This Workshop was organized by the Center for Disaster Preparedness (CDP) in Manila, Philippines, on 18-19 February 2013. It was held as an activity of the Strengthening Resilience of Coastal and Small Island Communities towards Hydro‐meteorological Hazards and Climate Change Impacts (StResCom) project, funded by the Japan Funds-in-Trust (JFIT).

The aim of this workshop was to assess and validate the local and indigenous knowledge (LINK) related to disaster risk reduction collected in three project sites in the Philippines: Rapu-rapu (Albay), Alabat (Quezons), Angono (Rizal). Field researchers and scientists were brought together to discuss the LINKs and to provide empirical and/or scientific explanations on the LINKs collected. At the same time, participants were asked to identify LINKs to be popularized, to make recommendations on the educational & awareness-raising materials that integrate LINKs with scientific knowledge, and to brainstorm on self-assessment tools to be used by communities. On the first day, discussions focussed on LINKs collected on animal behaviour, observations of plants, the environment, celestial bodies, winds and clouds. On the second day, participants discussed LINKs on material culture, traditional beliefs, and faith-based practices, as well as self-assessment tools and educational materials that integrate LINKs with science. The national workshop was attended by 24 people, approximately half of whom were scientists (biologists, meteorologists, geographers, anthropologists) and the other half were researchers from local NGOs who worked with the communities in the three field sites.

Following this workshop, the StResCom team in the Philippines will work to finalize self-assessment tools and pilot it in one of the field sites. Based on the recommendations of the national workshop, educational & awareness-raising materials will also be developed.

StResCom project is a three-year project being implemented in three countries: Indonesia, the Philippines, and Timor Leste. This workshop in the Philippines was preceded by a similar workshop held in Banda Aceh, Indonesia on 4 February. Organized by Tsunami & Disaster Mitigation Research Center (TDMRC), the workshop participants, which included members of the local communities, validated LINKs identified and collected in Pulau Nasi and Pulau Breuh (Aceh). Another workshop to finalize community self-assessment tools will be held in Banda Aceh on 25 February. They will then pilot the self-assessment tool in one of the islands, as well as work with an organization to pilot the tool in another site in Indonesia. Educational and awareness-raising materials will also be developed by the TDMRC.

In Timor Leste, researchers at the National Center for Scientific Research, National University of Timor Leste (UNTL-CNIC) have identified and collected LINKs related to hydro-meteorological hazards and climate change in three sites— Lau-Hata (Liquica), Maluro-Beaço (Viqueue) and Raimea (Cova Lima). The team will then finalize self-assessment tools, which will be pilot-tested in Raimea.

StResCom Phase 2 activities in the three countries will wrap up with the 3rd regional workshop for the project, planned to take place mid-April in the Philippines. During this workshop, scientists, researchers, government representatives, local and national NGOs, and members of local communities in the three countries will be brought together to launch the educational & awareness-raising materials and to share their experiences and lessons learned. Discussions during this second regional workshop will lead to further refining of the tool for integrating LINK with scientific knowledge, which could then be used by communities in other areas or other countries in the region, who would like to develop educational and awareness-raising material based on both scientific knowledge and local and indigenous knowledge. Challenges, experiences, and lessons learned in the process of developing educational and awareness-raising material will be shared, which will be compiled into a checklist of factors to take into consideration when developing such material. This regional workshop, as well as the development of educational and awareness-raising materials in Indonesia and the Philippines, are partially funded by the Asia‐Pacific Network for Global Change Research (APN).

The Indonesian National Agency for Disaster Management (BNPB) recently predicted that hydro-meteorological hazards such as floods, landslides, storms, and sea-level rise will intensify across Indonesia in 2013. It projected that about 80 percent of total disasters in the country in 2013 will be due to hydro-meteorological hazards. Dr. Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, Head of Data, Information and Public Relations of BNPB, has been quoted as saying that disasters are worsened by the impacts of global climate change and anthropogenic influences. Under such circumstances, the StResCom project aims to highlight the important role of local and indigenous knowledge to improve the capacity of coastal and small island communities to deal with hydro-meteorological hazards and climate change impacts.

For more information on the StResCom project, please contact Ms Lisa Hiwasaki (l.hiwasaki[at]unesco.org) or click here (http://portal.unesco.org/geography/en/ev.php-URL_ID=14038&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html)

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