Global Dynamics and Resilience

Global Dynamics and Resilience

 Human activities have global level impacts generating serious, interlinked challenges that include climate change, ocean acidification, declining fisheries, emerging diseases, antibiotic resistance and recurrent energy, food, and water crises. Their interactive effects are very likely to result in nonlinear, and perhaps, irreversible shifts in the behavior of the planetary system.

The world lacks institutions capable of addressing global-scale socio-ecological system governance, especially in regard to interlinked challenges that cross sectors and scales, where existing fragmented governance efforts may each deal with only part of the challenges. It is these unrecognized, and sometimes deliberately ignored, links and feedbacks that will most likely give rise to serious, unwanted changes/collapses.

The aim of this programme, launched jointly with the Stockholm Resilience Centre, is to gain better understanding  of the global social-ecological system, the likelihood and consequences of sequential or coincident multiple shocks and how society responds to these crises and shocks. We will start developing a framework for conceptualizing how the interlinked global system responds to crises and shocks and also develop ways for analyzing options for intervention to improve the odds of beneficial systematic outcomes.

The programme tackles a twofold problem:

  1. The interactive effects of climate change, ocean acidification, declining fisheries, emerging diseases, antibioticresistance and recurrent energy, food and water crises are likely to result in significant, perhaps irreversible, shifts in the planetary system’sbehaviour. 
  2.  The world lacks institutions capable of addressing these interactive, cross-sectoral effects that connect the local with the global. Existing fragmented governance efforts, each dealing with parts of the problem, will most likely lead to dangerous threshold effects.

The overarching questions that the Global Dynamics and Resilience programme tackles  are:
What are the critical unrecognised or ignored social-ecological links and feedbacks at the global scale, and what kinds of governance structures can be developed to avoid catastrophic shifts in the Earth system, so as to create long-term conditions for prosperous human development?

Programme Director: Anne-Sophie Crépin

Beijer Institute research projects linked to the Global Dynamics and Resilience programme

Completed projects of the programme


The 2008 Askö meeting resulted in a paper in the journal Science titled ‘Looming global-scale failures and missing institutions’. This complemented a paper in Nature entitled ‘A safe operating space for humanity’. Both papers are published in the Beijer E-print series. The latter, initiated at the Stockholm Resilience Centre by Johan Rockström and Will Steffen, with several Beijer Institute researchers and fellows involved, dealt with known and possible planetary boundaries that humanity should not
Together, these papers describe how the interactive effects between the trends in ‘silo’-operating global institutions and global-scale changes in nature are driving the world towards several really undesirable thresholds.
This is the reason for initiating this joint Beijer-SRC programme, which complements the Beijer Institute’s focus with the global dimension.
So far two workshops has been held within the programme:
Global Dynamics and Social-ecological Resilience in the Face of Multiple Shocks, April 2010, Stockholm
Inconvenient feedbacks in global dynamics, September 2010, Stockholm
Global Dynamics and social-ecological resilience in the face of multiple shocks, May 2013