Laboratory for the Analysis of Places, Landscapes and European Countryside
Laplec - Service de Géographie rurale de l'Université de Liège

Projets de recherche - Research projects

2014 - 2018 : Local Adaptation, Resilience & Interpretation of socio-natural hazards, and environment management in the Philippines


The Philippines is one of the countries most threatened by natural disasters. This is why many policies for risk prevention and environmental management have been implemented. The low index of human development, particularly rural poverty, promotes even more potentially significant vulnerability and high sensitivity of the populations to natural hazards. These policies, however, still make very little use to local data of indigenous peoples, especially indigenous knowledge about natural phenomena and their management. Local knowledge has been very poorly integrated into national and regional strategies for managing climate and geological risks. In addition, relatively centralist approaches, or at least interventionist, were often perceived by local people as colonial or "westernizing". For example, the use of the Tagalog language as so-called local on these issues is in many remote areas of Manila, interpreted as an act of Filipino colonialism against indigenous minorities. It is seen as a partisan and often hostile action at a time when the country is to defend and yet enhance the governance and traditions of its indigenous groups (see the IPRA). This project aims to increase the academic capacity of the country in this field, taking into account the most logical and not only local issues but also local knowledge on natural disasters. The final objective is the valorisation of indigenous knowledge in order to implement policies for managing natural hazards both more efficiently and more relevantly. Specifically, the project intends to implement, in three pilot regions, ethnographic and historical workshops on local traditions in matters of disaster and wider relationships with the environment. These oral history and ethnography workshops will focus in particular on the issues of indigenous resilience and adaptation to disaster, and interpretation of these events. Concerning these workshops, four co-supervised PhD theses will be prepared in anthropology, geography and history. Stays in Belgium have been planned and also in Canada, where the CIERA (Quebec) will allow us a specific input on the issues of "indigenous people." These PhD theses will be the basis of an interuniversity research centre in Manila, in order to valorise indigenous knowledge in public policies of prevention of natural hazards.


Académie de Recherche et d’Enseignement supérieur (ARES) - CUD


Prof. Dr. Serge Schmitz, Laplec (ULg)
Prof. Dr. Olivier Servais, Institute for the Analysis of Change in Contemporary and Historical Societies (UCL)
Prof. Dr. Nestor Castro, Department of Anthropology (University of Phillipines)
Prof. Dr. Isabelle Parmentier, Histoire & NaGRIDD (University of Namur)
PhDStudent Lou Ann Ocampo, Laplec (ULg)


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