Water lecture: Perspectives from West Africa


  • DATE / TIME:
    2011•07•13    17:00 - 18:30

    Three scientists from the Centre for Development Research (ZEF) will discuss “water, culture and development: perspectives from West Africa”, offering insights from their field experience.

    On Wednesday, 13 July 2011, the next session of the water lecture series will cover the topic “Water, culture and development: Perspectives from West Africa”. Scientists Emmanuel Akpabio, Irit Eguavoen and Wolfram Laube from the Center for Development Research (ZEF) will reflect on this topic, offer insights from their field experience and discuss whether (and how) water culture and water development should or could be linked more closely.

    Background information on the water lecture

    Water, Culture and Development: Perspectives from West Africa

    Water is a central theme in many of the world’s cultures. Water resources in their different forms are part of founding myths of societies, attract spiritual beliefs and are surrounded by local knowledge, norms and values, as well as clear regulations and even taboos that determine the way in which water is treated, distributed, shared or protected.

    Just as in the realms of custom, tradition and religion, water has attracted widespread attention in the world of development. The creation of hydraulic infrastructure, the provision of safe drinking water supplies and sanitation, but also water management and the environmental protection of water resources are issues that have been the focus of development organizations and projects since long before the World-Water Decade of the 1990s, and are currently at the heart of many of the UN Millennium Development Goals.

    While local culture, belief, values and norms are regularly referred to in water policy documents, water programmes and projects often do not take stock of, document or engage with local water knowledge and culture. The implementation of water sector programmes is thus often accompanied by unanticipated dynamics, including conflicts, boycotts and local disengagement, that may be problematic for project implementation and also may disrupt the local cultural and social fabric.

    For more information, see the event page on the UNU-EHS website.