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Traditional water management practices highlighted in new UN book

Cover of new ILO book
"Our study investigates how communities are adapting to the increasing severity of droughts and poor access to water, to assess the impact of environmental change on custodial water practices and traditional environmental knowledge"

Research by a social scientist based within the James Hutton Institute’s Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences (SEGS) has been featured in a book recently published by the International Labour Organization (ILO), a specialized agency of the United Nations.

The volume, titled “Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change: Emerging Research on Traditional Knowledge and Livelihoods”, sheds light into the interplay of traditional knowledge systems, rooted in indigenous ways of life, cultural approaches and traditional occupations, with the transformations being experienced in societies, economies, institutions, technologies and the climate.

Dr Vanessa Burns, a human geographer with SEGS in Aberdeen, authored a chapter about traditional water management as an adaptive subsistence practice in coastal Timor-Leste, the first new sovereign state of the 21st century.

Dr Burns said: “Situated in the Indonesian archipelago in the midwestern Pacific, the country is highly vulnerable to environmental change. Extreme weather, such as flood and drought, puts additional pressure on subsistence resources and worsens the poverty and malnutrition prevalent in rural areas.

“By using ethnographic and participatory methods, our study investigates how communities are adapting to the increasing severity of droughts and poor access to water, to assess the impact of environmental change on custodial water practices and traditional environmental knowledge.”

The book can be downloaded from the ILO website and a video recording of the launch of the book, held during the 18th session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues at the UN Headquarters in New York, is available below.

More information from: 

Bernardo Rodriguez-Salcedo, Media Manager, Tel: +44 (0)1224 395089 (direct line), +44 (0)344 928 5428 (switchboard) or +44 (0)7791 193918 (mobile).


Printed from /news/traditional-water-management-practices-highlighted-new-un-book on 15/07/19 07:27:48 PM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.