2.1 Governance of pressing social-environmental issues in the age of the Anthropocene

  The prevailing paradigm in the governance of the relationships between humans and the biophysical world has led us to the Anthropocene, a new geological epoch...

  The prevailing paradigm in the governance of the relationships between humans and the biophysical world has led us to the Anthropocene, a new geological epoch in planetary history in which humans take an active part, affecting a range of biophysical and social processes leading to complex global changes and global risks. Congruent with these global changes, there is increasing evidence from different contexts that many “governance systems” are not fit for purpose under contemporary circumstances. The COVID pandemic has exposed many of the vulnerabilities in our governance systems.

 

  Symptoms of governance failure vary across policy domains and scales (from local to the global), occurring within nations, organisations and multilateral programs. The Anthropocene imposes new challenges for governments, demanding capabilities for dealing with complexity and uncertainty and signalling the ‘death of stationarity’. Given the scale, significance and magnitude of the challenges arising in the Anthropocene it seems necessary to invent and make radical changes i.e., to create transformative governance regimes able to manage global risks for the purpose of providing safety and viability of human life into the future. Institutional innovations that break the current structures and relationships within governance systems are needed accompanied by recovery of human systemic sensibility, expansion of cybersystemic literacy and investment in cybersystemic thinking in practice capability. New governance systems not only need to be imagined but enacted- hence the urgency for systemic praxis.

 

  If we wish to share a common future on Earth, it is urgent to utilise cybersystemics to shift also the political landscape needed to achieve necessary transformations in human - biosphere relations into the future. Changes include managing human populations in equitable and ethical ways along with an increase in systems of polycentric self-governance adapted for a modern era. Cybersystemic insights and support are needed from every region of the world.

 

  Contributions are invited to this session that explore theoretical, methodological and empirical cases enabling innovations in cyber-systemic thinking and practice with promise for revitalising institutions and practices that deliver effective governance in the age of the Anthropocene.

Discussion points

  • Institutional and policy innovation/design

  • Climate emergency and resilience

  • Social inequality and politics in the Anthropocene

  • The praxis of polycentric and/or cybersystemic governance

  • Governance of social-environmental risks

Coordinators