The circulation of knowledge in international development

Freshwater scarcity and lack of safe drinking water are global environmental problems with a huge impact on people's livelihood. It is a very complex matter to deal with since (1) it manifests itself in many different ways, and (2) it results from many interrelated biophysical, socio-political and economic processes, and, in addition. The knowledge about these water problems and their solutions is produced by an extensive “network of knowledge actors” (such as research institutes, multi-lateral organisations, northern and southern NGOs, utility companies, local governments, local farmers, etc.) that operate on many different levels and have very disparate power to voice their visions. This research project aims at observing how knowledge and discourses concerning the water problems and solutions circulate in this network, from one actor to another, and how specific hegemonic discourses influence the practices in the field. In the analysis special attentionis paid to the effects of unequal power relations. The data come from multi-sited participant observation, interviews, policy documents and project reports. All levels are included in the analysis, from the global to the local. Mali and the Inner Niger Delta act as case study for the local level. The focus is on three concepts/discourses: Adaptation to Climate Change, Integrated Water Resource Management, Capacity Building.