By Kiwiana Ngabung – EMTV Online, Port Moresby
Yesterday, October 13, marked International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR). A day approved by the United Nations General Assembly in 1989 to promote a global culture of disaster reduction.
This year’s theme was “Knowledge for Life”– part of the Step Up initiative that started in 2011.
United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, in his IDDR message said the observance of the day is dedicated to the power of traditional, indigenous and local knowledge.
He said, “Traditional and indigenous knowledge is the indispensable information base for many societies seeking to live in harmony with nature and adapt to disruptive weather events, a warming globe and rising seas.”
“Local knowledge of the impacts of urbanisation, population growth, eco-system decline and greenhouse gas emissions is especially important in an era when more and more disasters are climate- and weather-related,” he added.
Moreover, UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), in observing the day, highlighted eight communities around the world that were recognised as Champions of Disaster Risk Reduction by UNISDR.
Head of UNISDR, Margareta Wahlström, declared that these communities proved the ability to live with risk through their local, traditional and indigenous knowledge.
“These communities in Bangladesh, Cameroon, Colombia, Italy, UK, Philippines, Sudan and Vanuatu are on the front line of extreme weather and seismic events. They all have one other thing in common and that is social cohesion which is vitally important in reducing disaster losses. Sustainable development and the eradication of poverty are not possible without such efforts to manage disaster risk,” Wahlström announced.
For Papua New Guinea, meanwhile, it’s a working progress. In August this year, GeoScience Australia held a workshop in East New Britain province and revealed that PNG still lacks disaster risk reduction skills.