Abstract This study began focused on the use of traditional knowledge in promoting sustainable development in crisis conditions. Presented the question: How have successful community- level sustainable development efforts undertaken under crisis conditions drawn upon indigenous knowledge to achieve positive outcomes? The study is a cross case analysis. The three cases addressed in this study have explained some of the ways that indigenous knowledge has played significant positive roles in promoting sustainable development for communities living under crisis conditions in Palestine. Indigenous knowledge community based patterns indicated significant focus on strengths of local culture, social cohesion, the integration process, and special advantages for policy implementation from the community level as key components of sustainable development in crisis conditions. This study especially focuses on efforts to implement sustainable development in crisis conditions. As the World Commission on Environment and Development, better known as the Brundtland Commission, explained in its seminal report (1987), the core problem for sustainable development is the need to integrate social development, economic development, and environmental protection to ensure “development that meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs” (World Commission on Environment and Development 1987, p. 8). And as that report and subsequent studies indicate, too often the social development dimension of the living triangle has been ignored or dramatically undervalued as those involved in development have concentrated on economic development and to some extent environmental protection (World Commission on Environment and Development 1987). In addition to the important ongoing problem of lack of focus on social aspects, sustainable development is particularly important and especially challenging in crisis conditions that include war, terrorism, and civil disorder and their aftermath. This research specifically considers the challenges of sustainable development in the Palestinian context with sensitivity to the need for the integration of all three elements of the living triangle and with concern for the special challenges presented by efforts to achieve sustainable development in crisis conditions. The study contributes to theory by analyzing common elements from the case studies and providing a set of testable propositions, grounded in those successful experiences that can be a starting point for building theory. Practically, the study has generated lessons that sustainable development policy implementers and decision makers can learn from when addressing sustainable development in different crisis conditions contexts such as the aftermath of what is called the “Arab Spring” contexts.


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