This knowledge overview paper explores the implications of complexity thinking for governing global catastrophic risks (GCRs), in particular a new breed of super-complex GCRs. It offers a novel interrogation of why legacy governance structures are ‘not fit for purpose’ when it comes to responding to the complex drivers of GCRs. This assessment provides the basis for an exploration of systemic design principles which could serve as a compass for policymakers and other participants seeking to innovate upon existing governance configurations in the face of mounting global complexity and risk imperatives. This exercise suggests that establishing right relationship between overlapping complicated and complex domains is a necessary condition for any design criteria underpinning governance of a viable global civilisation.
Authors: Tom Pegram is an Associate Professor in Global Governance at the UCL Department of Political Science/School of Public Policy and Deputy Director of the UCL Global Governance Institute. Julia Kreienkamp is a Research Assistant at University College London’s Global Governance Institute.