Decision-making and action-taking are informed by different types of knowledge and learning processes. M-POWER has strategically sought ways to build links between formal, science-based knowledge and the experienced-based knowledge of local communities and other practitioners in the management of water.
The idea has been that sustainable management of water resources will often require different forms of knowledge and privileging one form or holder of knowledge automatically is likely to lead to unfair and poor decisions.
In the Mekong Region this position sits somewhat uneasily between the views of states and some development actors that experts can resolve water management problems with technological solutions with better infrastructure and institutions and others which see a much larger role for local expertise and knowledge.
The way assessment and consultation processes are designed and implemented has implications for their credibility, legitimacy and saliency, and ultimately their public acceptance. Moreover many water projects are assessed individually: the cumulative and aggregate environmental impacts of water resources development projects are neglected.