The Indigenous Knowledge and Disaster Risk Reduction Network was created to facilitate and guide disaster risk planning and development processes of communities by encouraging collaboration within and between Indigenous communities. The network seeks to increase knowledge and understanding of the disaster risks faced by Indigenous populations and document their prior experience in building resilience to disasters. While the focus of the network will be on the health sector, all sectors and aspects of disaster risk reduction will be included. The network will accomplish this goal by connecting individuals and communities, gathering and sharing knowledge, and advocating for the integration of Indigenous knowledge and disaster risk reduction knowledge to advance disaster risk management with a focus on health in the region of the Americas and the Caribbean.
The network plans to increase collaboration and knowledge sharing within and between Indigenous communities. As a partnership between Indigenous communities, experts and associated stakeholders, the network acts as a hub for information exchange between various groups of knowledge. The network will allow for Indigenous communities to be active participants in developing methodologies and strategies that are relevant to their specific cultural context and are based in both disaster risk reduction knowledge and their own local and Indigenous knowledge. The active participation of Indigenous communities will allow for various cultural perceptions to be at play and to emphasize the understanding that what works for each community is based on the context and need of that community. By enhancing awareness of the mutually reinforcing nature of collaboration and engagement between health and disaster risk experts and Indigenous peoples, the network aims to create a sustainable platform for information sharing.
The network will have a positive impact on policies and practices of disaster risk reduction in the Americas and the Caribbean by creating a space where experts and communities can connect with each other, the government, and the public. Additionally, the network generates a platform where experiences and knowledge can be shared and can guide future disaster risk management procedures. The combination of evidence-based approaches and materials that are available through the network give communities the opportunity to develop and tailor approaches that advance disaster risk reduction in a way that is specific to their needs.
Prior to the development of the network, there was a gap in collaboration and communication between and within Indigenous communities regarding disaster risk reduction with a focus on health. By collaborating with, and among, Indigenous communities and sharing valued knowledge in a respectful manner, disaster risk reduction can be maximized. Collecting, combining and distributing essential disaster risk reduction knowledge and local Indigenous knowledge optimizes opportunities to incorporate new information into disaster risk management. As a one-stop-shop for knowledge and resources to aid in the understanding of vulnerability factors that contribute to increased risk of disasters in a community, the network provides ample opportunity to discover approaches for refining disaster risk reduction with a focus on health in Indigenous communities. The network aims to maintain longer-term engagement from disaster risk management professionals and Indigenous peoples to advance health disaster resilience in Indigenous communities and the development of culturally sensitive tools to reduce disaster risk and better protect health during and after disasters.