Unexpected epidemics, abrupt catastrophic shifts in biophysical systems, and economic crises that cascade across national borders and regions are events that challenge the steering capacity of governance at all political levels. This article seeks to extend the applicability of governance theory by developing hypotheses about how different governance types can be expected to handle processes of change characterized by nonlinear dynamics, threshold effects, cascades, and limited predictability. The first part of the article argues the relevance of a complex adaptive system approach and goes on to review how well governance theory acknowledges the intriguing behavior of complex adaptive systems. In the second part, we develop a typology of governance systems based on their adaptive capacities. Finally, we investigate how combinations of governance systems on different levels buffer or weaken the capacity to govern complex adaptive systems. Adapted from the source document.
‘One Health’ has emerged over the last decade as a key concept guiding international research and policy in the field of emerging infectious diseases such as zoonoses. This paper explores the emergence of One Health and examines the political, economic and knowledge processes shaping who is doing what, where and why. It begins with a brief overview of the emergence of the concept, and an analysis of the different definitions in play and their discursive construction and consequences. The authors combine quantitative network analysis and interviews with key players in international global public health and veterinary debates and show significant disconnects between the inclusive rhetoric of global policy and scientific practices, highlighting tensions in patterns of global collaboration and their politics. The paper also explores diverse perspectives on the utility of the One Health approach, asking why, given the emerging consensus around it, the approach is gaining relatively little policy and institutional traction. Reasons include power-laden professional hierarchies, institutional lock-in around single-sector approaches, the influence of funding flows and convenient articulations with securitisation agendas in global health.
This article explores the links between agency, institutions, and innovation in navigating shifts and large-scale transformations toward global sustainability. Our central question is whether social and technical innovations can reverse the trends that are challenging critical thresholds and creating tipping points in the earth system, and if not, what conditions are necessary to escape the current lock-in. Large-scale transformations in information technology, nano- and biotechnology, and new energy systems have the potential to significantly improve our lives; but if, in framing them, our globalized society fails to consider the capacity of the biosphere, there is a risk that unsustainable development pathways may be reinforced. Current institutional arrangements, including the lack of incentives for the private sector to innovate for sustainability, and the lags inherent in the path dependent nature of innovation, contribute to lock-in, as does our incapacity to easily grasp the interactions implicit in complex problems, referred to here as the ingenuity gap. Nonetheless, promising social and technical innovations with potential to change unsustainable trajectories need to be nurtured and connected to broad institutional resources and responses. In parallel, institutional entrepreneurs can work to reduce the resilience of dominant institutional systems and position viable shadow alternatives and niche regimes.