New systemic approach needed to tackle global challenges

The impacts of the corona virus on people’s health and daily life, stock markets, and businesses illustrate the increasingly interconnected nature of the challenges facing governments around the world. Putting systemic thinking at the centre of policymaking will be essential to address these issues in an era of rapid and disruptive change, according to a new joint report by IIASA and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Newswise — Systemic thinking for policymaking: The potential of systems analysis for addressing global policy challenges in the 21st century, aims to highlight to policymakers how systems research can be used to understand the complex issues facing society, anticipate the consequences of our decisions, and build resilience. The authors argue that, to tackle planetary emergencies linked to the environment, the economy, and sociopolitical systems, policymakers need to understand their systemic properties, including tipping points, interconnectedness, and resilience. 

"The systems approach can promote cross-sectoral, multidisciplinary collaboration in the process of policy formulation by taking proper account of the crucial linkages between issues generally treated separately within different specialisations and scientific and institutional "silos"," said Gabriela Ramos, OECD Chief of Staff. "The approach provides a methodology to achieve a better understanding of the non-linear behaviour of complex systems and improve the assessment of the consequences of policy interventions. The ultimate objective is to improve the capacity of policies to deliver better outcomes for people." 

"Unless we adopt a systems approach, unless we employ systems thinking, we will fail to understand the world we are living in. This is a world made up of complex systems, systems of systems interacting with each other, and changing each other by that interaction and the links between them. If we are to tackle these issues, governments must change the ways in which they make and implement policies. An acceptance of complexity shifts governments from a top-down siloed culture to an enabling culture where evidence, experimentation, and modeling help to inform and develop stakeholder engagement and buy-in," adds IIASA Director General Albert van Jaarsveld. 

"The report shows the considerable potential of mainstreaming systemic thinking into policymaking, including within the OECD itself. As part of an agreed work program between the two organizations, the aim is to establish specific bilateral projects in the different areas of policymaking," says Acting Chief Operations Officer of IIASA, Jan Marco Müller. 

The report highlights the application of systems thinking beyond the fields of analysis, modeling, and the formulation of policy, and that systems thinking has immediate application in developing human capital through education, training, and team building. Perspectives are drawn from a range of disciplines and methodologies including economics, social science, and policymaking, but also from the physical and biological sciences and engineering. The authors show how cross-sectoral, multidisciplinary collaboration can take account of the crucial linkages between issues generally treated within different specializations, and scientific and institutional silos. 

Closer trade cooperation in combination with robust land use strategies could, for instance, increase the resilience of global food markets to the impacts of climate change, while an integrated approach to the management of water, energy, and land would provide experts and policymakers with a better understanding of the benefits and challenges of sustainably meeting future demand for resources. Another example cited in the report is the link between education and demographic change, where the authors highlight how lifelong education strategies, starting from early childhood, can promote productive working lives and healthy ageing. 

 

Notes to editors:

The interconnected nature of the challenges the world faces today means that no country can overcome them on its own. In 2017, this realization prompted the establishment of a strategic partnership between the OECD and the IIASA, laying the foundations for a concerted effort to combine the OECD’s strengths in policy analysis and dialogue with the scientific expertise of the IIASA. As part of the agreement, a joint OECD-IIASA task force on systems thinking, anticipation, and resilience was established, bringing together 25 experts from across the two organizations to gain a more thorough understanding of the systemic and dynamic linkages between the major trends shaping our world and the impact that different policy measures have on them. 

With an eye on further strengthening collaboration between the two organizations in the future, the task force is considering measures to strengthen the impact of its activities. In addition, a number of institutions have expressed interest in participating in the work of the strategic partnership and efforts are underway to continue building on the existing connections of the OECD and IIASA in the policy and scientific communities. The aim is to develop a worldwide network of institutions and experts to expand the existing partnership and to make the initiative visible and connected with influential stakeholders. 

Reference

Hynes W, Lees M, & Müller JM (eds.) (2020), Systemic Thinking for Policy Making: The Potential of Systems Analysis for Addressing Global Policy Challenges in the 21st Century, New Approaches to Economic Challenges, OECD Publishing, Paris. https://doi.org/10.1787/879c4f7a-en 

 

Contacts:

Gabriela Ramos
Chief of Staff and Sherpa
Tel +33 1 45 24 89 00
Gabriela.ramos@oecd.org

Jan Marco Müller
Acting Chief Operations Officer
Tel: +43 2236 807 633
muellerj@iiasa.ac.at

Ansa Heyl
IIASA Press Office
Tel: +43 2236 807 574
Mob: +43 676 83 807 574
heyl@iiasa.ac.at

 

About IIASA: 

The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) is an international scientific institute that conducts research into the critical issues of global environmental, economic, technological, and social change that we face in the twenty-first century. Our findings provide valuable options to policymakers to shape the future of our changing world. IIASA is independent and funded by prestigious research funding agencies in Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe. www.iiasa.ac.at




Filters close

Showing results

110 of 1958
Released: 27-May-2020 7:55 PM EDT
Models for Incorporating Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions
Society for Risk Analysis (SRA)

To help answer major questions about COVID19, governments have been reaching out to epidemiologists, medical practitioners and others who have some expertise in disease modeling in order to better understand the trajectory of the virus and its impact on society. One of the most widely used models are called Mathematical Compartmental Models, which simplify the mathematical modeling of infectious diseases.

Released: 27-May-2020 5:30 PM EDT
To Prevent a Second Wave of COVID-19, AACC Calls on Senate to Include 5 Recommendations in Upcoming Coronavirus Bill
American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC)

Now that the latest coronavirus relief package, known as the Heroes Act, has moved forward to the U.S. Senate, AACC has sent a letter to Senate leadership outlining five key recommendations that will improve COVID-19 testing capacity across the U.S. AACC urges the Senate to ensure these recommendations are addressed within the Heroes Act, as they are critical to preventing a second wave of the pandemic.

Newswise: Researchers use ALCF resources to model the spread of COVID-19
Released: 27-May-2020 5:05 PM EDT
Researchers use ALCF resources to model the spread of COVID-19
Argonne National Laboratory

Argonne researchers lead highly detailed COVID-19 modeling efforts to understand how the virus spreads through populations.

Released: 27-May-2020 5:05 PM EDT
Exploring the Zoonotic Origins of COVID-19
Society for Risk Analysis (SRA)

Around the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a lot of dialog surrounding its zoonotic origins, or its transmission from animals to humans. A new study explores how zoonotic origins are communicated can influence risk perception and preventative behaviors, including how people interact with animals that are known to be possible sources of a disease.

Newswise: Pediatric scoring scale helps surgeons decide whether to operate during COVID-19 delays
Released: 27-May-2020 3:40 PM EDT
Pediatric scoring scale helps surgeons decide whether to operate during COVID-19 delays
American College of Surgeons (ACS)

Pediatric surgeons have modified an evaluation tool for use in pediatric patients that allows surgeons to prioritize operations during COVID-19.

Newswise: Hackensack Meridian Health Joins #FitForTheFrontLine Challenge with Nation’s Top Medical and Academic Centers in Support of Frontline Health Care Workers
Released: 27-May-2020 3:05 PM EDT
Hackensack Meridian Health Joins #FitForTheFrontLine Challenge with Nation’s Top Medical and Academic Centers in Support of Frontline Health Care Workers
Hackensack Meridian Health

Hackensack Meridian Health is joining medical centers across the United States to start a country-wide movement of physical activity to honor and support frontline health care workers who have worked tirelessly to save lives. Spearheaded by Mount Sinai Health System, #FitForTheFrontLine is a national fitness challenge which began on Tuesday, May 26, and ends on Sunday, June 14 (Flag Day). The event encourages Americans young and old to move, exercise and get fit to increase awareness and raise funds to support our nation’s health care heroes.

Newswise: The Pandemic’s Byproduct: Work-Life Integration, At Last
Released: 27-May-2020 3:05 PM EDT
The Pandemic’s Byproduct: Work-Life Integration, At Last
The Society of Thoracic Surgeons

Dr. Mara B. Antonoff shares how working from home and virtual meetings have improved her work-life balance and advocates for keeping some of these protocols in place after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.

Released: 27-May-2020 2:40 PM EDT
Drastic Changes in Social Lives Raise Future Mental Health Concerns
University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin)

People’s social lives aren’t what they used to be. But exactly how they’ve changed and what it might mean for mental health is what psycho-linguistic researchers at The University of Texas at Austin are trying to figure out in the Pandemic Project.


Showing results

110 of 1958

close
1.04861