Biodiversity, Traditional Knowledge and Community Health: Strengthening Linkages
Unnikrishnan P.M. and M.S. Suneetha
UNU-IAS with UNEP, Foundation for Revitalisation of Local Health Traditions, ETC-Compas, UNDP-Equator Initiative, October 2012 | ISBN 978-92-808-4528-0

This report explores a community health approach synergizing biological resources and traditional knowledge. The first section provides an overview of the policy context, including internationally agreed development goals related to health. The second section focuses on the various elements that need to be promoted to contribute effectively to a more holistic approach, based on a comprehensive assessment of local needs, available resources (knowledge, natural, socio-cultural, economic and human) and contexts, including community worldviews, reasoning, methods, values and norms. A number of case studies are thus organized under the following categories: biological resources; knowledge resources; human resources; community health and nutrition; equity and livelihoods; interculturality, integration and institutionalization; education; rights-based approaches for community knowledge; socio-cultural landscapes; and partnerships and networking. The authors conclude that the linkages between traditional medicine and biodiversity get strengthened through three processes, interlinked at various degrees: a primarily medical approach that includes efforts at integration of traditional medicine in health care delivery largely supported by the WHO or other international efforts; a market-oriented approach focusing on drug development or tourism promotion; and a community-based approach driven largely by civil society organizations with a conservation focus, including resource management, livelihoods and health programmes. Download the publication [pdf] …