A Massey University forum on indigenous approaches to reducing disaster risk held in Samoa in September has been praised by the Samoan Head of State. The university‟s Pacific Research and Policy Centre and the Joint Centre for Disaster Research hosted the parallel event at the third United Nations Small Island Developing States conference (SIDS) in Samoa.
The session – attended by more than 50 people – was commended by Samoa‟s Head of State, Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi. “It was the only panel in the entire conference that deliberately promotes, by emphasis and language, the indigenous aspects,” he says. Indigenous knowledge in the context of disaster risk reduction and emergency planning includes such things as reading weather and ocean signs and interpreting changes in how plants respond to climate change, as well as the use of local organic materials instead of tin and iron in buildings to minimise injuries during a natural disaster. As a follow up to the event the two research centres have joined forces to offer a one-day workshop on indigenous approaches to disaster risk reduction next March. Participants will have the opportunity to develop their own crisis planning, and identify organisations they need to work with to ensure indigenous approaches are part of disaster risk reduction.
Co-director of the Pacific Research and Policy Centre, Associate Professor Malakai Koloamatangi says indigenous approaches to disaster risk reduction and social resilience are often poorly represented in regional and national emergency response, and disaster management policy and plans. “The follow-up workshop is designed to highlight this policy gap in the disaster management strategies of small island developing states,” he says. “We want to draw attention to the ways such knowledge and practices might be adapted to shape disaster response frameworks, inform local and national governance, and facilitate regional initiatives.”
This United Nations global general assembly for sustainable development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) began in Barbados in 1994 with the Barbados Programme of Action, followed by the second SIDS general assembly in Mauritius in 2005, which resulted in an implementation plan called the Mauritius Strategy. A draft outcome of this third conference is the S.A.M.O.A Pathway (Small Island Developing States Accelerated Modalities of Action) that incorporates considerations for the United Nations Millennium Development Goals post-2015.
Source: Massey News