Systemic 'biodiversity' governing

Ison, Ray and Straw, Ed (2019). Systemic 'biodiversity' governing. In: ‘Seeds of change: provocations for a new research agenda’, Biodiversity Revisited Symposium Conference Proceedings (Wyborn, C.; Kalas, N. and Rust, N. eds.), 11-13 Sep 2019, Vienna, Austria, pp. 80–83.



Stemming biodiversity loss requires taking responsibility for the quality and trajectory of unfolding socialbiosphere dynamics through transformations to systemic governance. Existing systems are woefully inadequate for the task at hand – from preferential lobbying by big business corrupting decision-making to conventional economics treating the ‘environment’ as an externality. Biodiversity will continue to decline without the reinvention of governance at all levels. We propose a new model through the addition of the ‘Biosphere’, ‘Technosphere’, and ‘Social Purpose’ to the contemporary governance model. This would place biosphere-human relations at its centre, with the invention and enactment of new institutions for social purpose, using expressions of democracy going far beyond electoral representation. Biodiversity conservation is dependent on co-design with local actors – it cannot succeed from a remote desk. In turn, this will mean taking responsibility for the framing choices applied to situations of concern as the first critical steps for thinking differently; incorporating multiple perspectives; and designing for purpose. Designed human activity systems to carry out these steps will come in many forms. All will need systemic sensibilities characterised by relational thinking and practice, investment in systems literacy and the deployment of STiP (systems thinking in practice) by co-designers and enactors of new governance systems.

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