The potential for combining indigenous and western knowledge in reducing vulnerability to environmental hazards in small island developing states
The benefits of indigenous knowledge within disaster risk reduction are gradually being acknowledged and identified. However, despite this acknowledgement there continues to be a gap in reaching the right people with the correct strategies for disaster risk reduction. This paper identifies the need for a specific framework identifying how indigenous and western knowledge may be combined to mitigate against the intrinsic effects of environmental processes and therefore reduce the vulnerability of rural indigenous communities in small island developing states (SIDS) to environmental hazards. This involves a review of the impacts of environmental processes and their intrinsic effects upon rural indigenous communities in SIDS and how indigenous knowledge has contributed to their coping capacity. The paper concludes that the vulnerability of indigenous communities in SIDS to environmental hazards can only be addressed through the utilisation of both indigenous and Western knowledge in a culturally compatible and sustainable manner.