Prioritise protection of cultural heritage when preparing disaster management plans and procedures. Moreover, disasters managers should capitalize on tangible and intangible cultural heritage to assist communities in becoming more resilience


Cultural heritage can be better protected from disasters, while contributing to the resilience of societies, by integrating it into current disaster reduction policies. Cultural heritage is vulnerable to the adverse impacts of natural disasters, and climate change is adding to the urgency of addressing this challenge. Lack of maintenance and the loss of traditional knowledge have increased the vulnerability of cultural heritage assets in many regions of the world. Which is why it is important to include the protection of cultural heritage (both tangible and intangible) in disaster preparedness protocols and guidelines. It is also important to use cultural heritage (e.g. traditional building techniques) to enhance the resilience of communities to disasters.

Applicable to:

General association with cultural factors: Local knowledge

Implementation steps:

A. Prioritise the protection of cultural heritage, including the knowledge and skills developed in disaster cultures. Related cultural factors: Individual/collective memory, Local knowledge

B. Develop a checklist on how to evacuate cultural properties: heritage sites museums, libraries etc.

C. Capitalise on intangible cultural heritage (e.g. existing traditional wisdom on construction materials and technologies), since it has been tested over generations and is best suited to the local environment and culture. An example of this is rethinking flood protection by changing the way homes are designed so that floods do less damage and people can return to their properties quicker after a flood. Related cultural factors: Local knowledge


Further reading:

Cannon, T. Schipper, E. L. F. Bankoff, G. & Kruger, F. (2014). World Disasters Report 2014. Focus on culture and risk. Lyon, France.

F. B. Kruger, Greg. Cannon, Terry. Orlowski, Benedict &Schipper, E. Lisa F. (Ed.), Cultures and Disasters. Understanding Cultural Framings in Disaster Risk Reduction. London: Routledge.

Petal, M. (2008). Disaster Prevention for Schools Guidance for Education Sector Decision-Makers Consultation version, November 2008. International Strategy for Disaster Reduction Thematic Platform for Knowledge and Education. Geneva: UNISDR.

Shaw, R., Uy, N., &Baumwoll, J. (2008). Indigenous Knowledge for Disaster Risk Reduction: Good Practices and Lessons Learned from Experiences in the Asia-Pacific Region. Bangkok: UNISDR Asia and Pacific.