16 July 2018

Planetary Security and Anticipatory Governance

In this policy brief Leon Fuerth argues a new type of complex problems, climate change being the apex example, needs a new type of governance that anticipates for future threats. The publication can be found here.

We are experiencing  major, emergent  challenges to planetary security that are complex, fast-moving and highly disruptive. Climate change is a primary  example of such a challenge, but others -- for the most part unintended consequences of our high-tech civilization -- are  on the horizon. Leon Fuerth makes the case that existing, legacy-based systems of governance are inadequate for managing what is coming.  He argues that we need to develop anticipatory forms of governance, which would involve : integrating foresight analysis and policy making; networking management of policies designed for complex issues; and instituting feed-back systems for real-time assessment of the effectiveness of policies that  are in play. He maintains that the bigger challenge is not the design of such systems, but the political will to establish them, especially at the global level. Fuerth suggests that although national governments will continue to  be primary responders to this new class of challenges, the most serious deficiency exists at the global level, and concludes that  this is a problem well suited for a process that could be inspired by the UN Secretary General.