Integrating Indigenous perspectives and community-based disaster risk reduction: A pathway for sustainable Indigenous development in Northern Pakistan

Tahir Ali, Douglas Paton, Petra T. Buergelt, James A. Smith, Noor Jehan, Abubaker Siddique

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)


UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Sendai Framework of Action 2015–2030 place great importance on including Indigenous communities in disaster risk reduction (DRR) planning through community-based strategies. However, working with Indigenous communities requires developing a holistic understanding of the complexities of Indigenous worldviews, knowledges, and practices that influence Indigenous DRR. To date, efforts to do so have been limited. To fill this gap, we combined systems theory and symbolic interactionism as holistic philosophical lens to explore the complex interactions of individual and contextual factors that influence DRR in a remote Pakistani Indigenous community. A synergy of critical Indigenous methodology, grounded theory, case study and ethnography as research methodologies led to employing conversations, yarning circles and participant observation as data collection methods. The data from nineteen participants were collected, interpreted and analysed with the help of a local Indigenous co-researcher over the period of four months. The emerged grounded theory identified eleven categories pertaining to the facilitators and barriers of community’ DRR. The local culture Pukhtunwali and its components, Islamic teachings, good physical health, NGOs, community organisations and community's adaptive capacities facilitated DRR; whereas, lack of community-based DRR structure, inadequate welfare services, some religious beliefs, poverty and climate change hindered DRR of the community. The categories were weaved together to generate a core category that indicates that development agencies specialising in different areas need to work with Indigenous communities in interdependent and complementary partnerships for sustainable development in Pakistan. We offer our recommendations to accomplish genuine interdependent and complementary partnerships.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102263
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Critical Indigenous methodology
  • Disaster risk reduction
  • Holistic Indigenous research
  • Indigenous development
  • Partnership-based approaches
  • Sustainable community development


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