"Moving Towards Adaptive Governance for Sustainability under Conditions of Complexity and Deep Uncertainty"—MAGIC's special session at the 2019 meeting of the Society for Decision Making Under Deep Uncertainty (DMDU 2019)—drew a large audience. The session was inspired in Antonio Gramsci’s reflections: "The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.” The European Union, together with other regions of the world, is currently experiencing a series of economic, ecological, scientific and political crises. Drawing on decades of research in complexity theory and post-normal science, including the experiences in MAGIC, conveners Zora Kovacic, Silvio Funtowicz, Roger Strand (University of Bergen, Norway) and Dominique Chu (University of Kent, UK) argued that these crises are strongly intertwined and deeply connected to a model of governance that fails to appreciate the complexity of socio-ecological systems and the various forms of irreducible uncertainty that results from this complexity.
Members of the audience shared their own experiences from a variety of fields. There was a diversity of opinions on how to manage and communicate uncertainty to society at large. Our panel members argued strongly for transparency even when this might imply a loss of authority and trust in expertise, at least in the short-term perspective. Several interlocutors highlighted the need to complement the analysis of how scientific uncertainty results from complexity, with the equivalent analysis of the multiple ways that policy-makers deal with uncertainty. Indeed, one of MAGIC’s strongpoints is the integration of political science and STS with the post-normal science and ecological economics perspectives.
Presentations during the special session are available in our document repository.