Traditional Knowledge in Policy and Practice

Approaches to Development and Human Well-Being

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Traditional knowledge (TK) has contributed immensely to shaping development and human well-being. Its influence spans a variety of sectors, including agriculture, health, education and governance. However, in today’s world, TK is increasingly underrepresented or under-utilized. Further, while the applicability of TK to human and environmental welfare is well-recognized, collated information on how TK contributes to different sectors is not easily accessible. This book focuses on the relevance of TK to key environment- and development-related sectors, discusses the current debates within each of these sectors and presents suggestions as to how TK can be effectively integrated with conventional science and policy. A valuable resource to researchers, academics and policymakers, Traditional knowledge in policy and practice provides a comprehensive overview of TK, and its links and contributions to social, economic, environmental, ethical and political issues.



Bridging formal and informal governance regimes for effective water management: The role of traditional knowledge

Water is undeniably one of the fundamental elements essential for human survival, biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Regrettably, water in a state capable of sustaining life on earth is denied to many people (Harte et al., 1991). The denial of this fundamental life-supporting component of the environment is brought about by its scarcity, first, due to the physical and geographical locations of place; and second, due to overexploitation, excessive extraction and pollution. However, drivers of change to water quality have always existed; especially, pollution is not strictly a modern phenomenon. It dates back to early human history and more than likely before the first recorded incidents. The noted difference compared with the past and nowadays is that the earliest forms of water pollution primarily occurred due to natural cycles or phenomena, such as volcanoes, algae blooms, storms and run-offs, which can alter the quality of water or the ecological status of water. Yet in recent times, water pollution caused by human activities has been occurring at a rate which has exceeded pollution caused by natural phenomena, and imposes considerable stress on natural systems and adds to the scarcity issue. Other conventional drivers of change include population pressure, urbanization and over-extraction. Furthermore, new threats such as climate change aggravate the already complex water crisis (Bates et al., 2008). It is clear that human-induced factors contribute extensively to the current water crisis facing the world. This can be confirmed by the fact that approximately 1.1 billion poor people already lack access to safe water supply and 2.6 billion people lack appropriate sanitation. The seriousness of the water crisis is predicted to worsen in the next fifty years, especially with new threats like climate change, if a business-as-usual situation persists. Moreover, if the drivers of change are not addressed now the water crisis will fall heavily on the world’s poor people. This can easily jeopardize the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and subsequently take a toll on human well-being.


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