A Case for New Institutions

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Science  11 Jan 2008:
Vol. 319, Issue 5860, pp. 136
DOI: 10.1126/science.1151835

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The environment in most countries is being degraded, poverty worldwide is increasing, and the gaps between rich and poor individuals and nations are widening. One half of the world's human population still survives on less than $2 per day. These people face the prospect of environmental degradation of their ecosystems that is likely to be exacerbated by climate change. Yet these local ecosystems contain much of our planet's biodiversity and are also the sources of livelihoods and ecosystem services for the rural poor and indirectly for the global community. A key to halt, and then reverse, these environmental and economic trends may lie in new and imaginatively conceived institutions of knowledge in developing countries.