Humanity seems to be moving towards a new predicament of multiple, global and interconnected risks.
The global food crisis in 2008-2009; the financial crash of 2009; recurrent outbreaks of novel infectious diseases; and the cascading impacts of ongoing climate change, are some recent examples.
"These interconnected trends pose fundamental challenges to international institutions, law, networks and partnerships. We wanted to explore what builds a global capacity to cope with surprise, shocks and propagating failures, from multiple disciplinary perspectives", says Victor Galaz, coordinating author of the report "Connected Risks, Connected Solutions?".
Moving towards connected solutions
What are some of the best ways to address such global connected risks? Which tangible global governance pathways exist, how realistic are the existing international reform proposals, and what would they imply? These issues are explored in the newly launched report "Connected Risks, Connected Solutions?" which was recently launched during a seminar held on November 18.
The report is the result of collaboration between scholars from a broad range of disciplines in several parts of the world including Jonas Tallberg (political science, Sweden), Ellen Hey (international law, Netherlands), Arjen Boin (crisis management, Netherlands) and Frances Westley (innovation studies, Canada), amongst others.
The report includes the following four main messages:
- Social science insights about the governance of connected global risks remain fragmented, but are complementary.
- Different models of governance address different critical functions needed to govern global connected risks.
- There are several highly policy-relevant research gaps with respect to innovation, legitimacy, and adaptability in the face of non-linear change.
- Transformative changes of the governance of global environmental risks are, indeed, possible.
"It is interesting to note the rich contributions emerging from several fields within the social sciences. Unfortunately, many of these tend to be ignored in policy debates about the possible ways to address gaps in global governance in the face of systemic risks", says Victor Galaz.
Global capacity to cope with surprise, shocks and propagating failures
In connection with a workshop on governance, innovation and connected risks held earlier this year, four of the authors behind the new report talked about their perspectives on how to approach these challenges. Read more
A methodological appendix, a number of background reports and a database accompany the report. The latter contains a number of interactive visualizations. Access all the online material here
The report is funded by Global Challenges Foundation. The foundation works to raise awareness of the greatest threats facing humanity. In particular climate change, other environmental damage and political violence, and how these threats are linked to poverty and the rapid growth in global population.
Citation: Galaz, V., D. Galafassi, J. Tallberg, A. Boin, E. Hey, C. Ituarte-Lima, J. Dunagan, P. Olsson, R. Österbergh and F. Westley (2014). Connected Risks, Connected Solutions. Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, and the Global Challenges Foundation, Stockholm
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