Every year the world is struck by a natural disaster that claims thousands of lives and leaves millions homeless. Last year the Nepal tragedy shook the world and aid poured in from all corners of the globe, especially from India and China. Despite, all the efforts, scientific knowledge, preparedness and risk reduction measures, the world has not been able to save lives and rehabilitate people. The devastation due to the natural disasters such as droughts, floods, earthquakes, anthropogenic activities add to other adverse miseries which result in a catastrophe. Natural disasters, majority of which are exacerbated by climate change, have a negative impact on investment in sustainable development and the desired outcomes.
The International Day for Disaster Reduction has been observed every year on 22nd December since 1989 after UNGA passed a resolution to promote global awareness for preventive measures for disasters including mitigation and preparedness. In 2009, the UNGA passed a resolution and designated 13th October every year to be asserted as International Day for Disaster Reduction. This year the theme for the day is “Knowledge for Life – Focussing on the use of traditional, indigenous and local knowledge.”
As the theme for this year suggests, the day emphasises on the traditional, indigenous and local knowledge that complements modern science building resilience for not only individuals but also societies. Today, the world understands that knowledge of early warning signals in nature are crucial to take early adequate action to mitigate the impact of slow and fast onset disasters such as droughts, heat waves, storms and floods. Local knowledge combined with scientific data are vital to help meteorologists and others generate reports which can be communicated to the people for better preparedness.
Across the world many cultures and traditional have shown us the emphasis that they have historically provided towards environmental protection and managing disaster risk. There is no doubt that the indigenous people have unique capacities and knowledge to restore the nature and protect it from degradation. It is now up to the governments and other agencies to build their capacities and cohesively engage them towards disaster risk reduction measures ensuring prosperity and reduction in level of destruction by disasters. This year the Step Up campaign started back in 2011 will complete its series by taking a look on how the knowledge of the local communities which are united by the common threat of disasters, deploy their knowledge and insight, tradition and experience to mitigate disaster risks.
By – Rahul Choudhury
Media and Communications,
Innovative Financial Advisors Pvt. Ltd.