Traditional knowledge meets R&D in French Polynesia
SciDev.Net, 12 October 2013

PARIS, FRANCE: A “unique living laboratory” that combines conventional science and traditional knowledge in the Pacific has delivered valuable development leads, but may now be under threat, a meeting held by France’s Institute of Research for Development (IRD) has heard. The benefits of such research informed by local knowledge in French Polynesia include the development of drugs for a foodborne illness that climate change may soon allow to spread to other parts of the world and working to save a local medicinal plant from the brink of extinction. Indigenous knowledge and practices have benefited from research the IRD has run in the country and have also helped to inform the institute’s research and development (R&D) programmes, according to a book released at the Paris meeting last week (3 October). Fifty Years of Research for Development in French Polynesia (50 ans de recherche pour le développement en Polynésie française) gives an overview of the research the IRD has carried out since its establishment in the archipelago, highlighting the symbiotic relationship between R&D and indigenous knowledge there. Read the article … Further information on the book [in French] …