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Eco Institutional Perspectives on Maintaining Diversity

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Type: Working Paper
Author: Gupta, Anil K.
Date: 1992
Agency: Indian Institute of Management, Ahmenabad, India
Series: Working Paper, no. 3
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/4335
Sector: Social Organization
Region: Middle East & South Asia
Subject(s): global commons
biodiversity
sustainability
indigenous knowledge
developing countries
local knowledge
Abstract: "The global dialogue on diversity particularly mediated by global institutions has been biased against the perspectives and philosophies evolved by the cultures in the developing countries. It is a different matter that seeds of change for sustainable development may exist with in these cultures. It is not that this neglect of local knowledge perspectives manifests only in Western writings or UN publications. The neglect is equally strong even in the formal publications of various governments in these countries. In this paper, I argue that biodiversity can not be maintained where it exists and enhanced where it is declining without appreciating the institutional context of the cultural, ecological and religious consciousness. The socio-economic factors explain only partially, why some communities maintain biodiversity and others do not. The earlier argument about close linkage between biodiversity and poverty is extended to suggest that economic poverty need not be coterminus with institutional and cultural poverty. There may be lessons to be learnt from the communities which have maintained biodiversity by remaining 'poor'. However, it has to be strongly asserted that one can not expect biodiversity to be maintained by keeping people poor or out of the natural habitats as seems to be the strategy in many countries. "The paper is organized in three parts. In part one, I discuss the phenomena of ecological diversity and its bearing on our learning, living and exchange systems. In part two, I provide examples of the interactions through which Eco Institutional Perspective can be advanced. Finally, in part three, I suggest some puzzles and dilemma which need to be further understood and analyzed. I would not suggest, resolved. A puzzle resolved is a faith broken. Perhaps diversity cannot be maintained by reason alone."

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