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.




This volume comes at a critical moment in the fight for a sustainable future. In 2002, the heads of state attending the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development agreed to substantially reduce the rate of biodiversity loss worldwide by 2010 – the so-called 2010 Biodiversity Target. However, today biodiversity is being lost more quickly than ever, with the current rate of extinction estimated to be up to 1,000 times higher than the natural background rate. This rapid and unprecedented loss of our biological resources poses a serious threat to humanity’s longterm health, well-being and prosperity.


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