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Global Systems Science and Policy: an Introduction

UNESCO UNITWIN Complex Systems Digital Campus
Thematic Area
Social Sciences and Humanities
Factual description
The lecture is provided by the UNESCO UNITWIN Complex Systems Digital Campus and it is available on the website Future Learn ( Global System Science (GSS) includes the following four elements:
- Analysis of policy problems at local and global scales;
- Complex systems;
- Policy informatics;
- Citizens’ engagement.

The course addresses the question of how policy makers can be confident that proposed policies will have the intended desirable outcomes and not have undesirable unintended consequences. Starting from the consideration that social systems have multilevel dynamics and policies interact at all levels, from local to global, the Global System Science (GSS) aims to provide scientific evidence to support policy-making, public action and civic society to collectively engage in societal action. This is done through a multidisciplinary approach, involving the adoption of complex systems perspectives, computer science tools and political science theories, merged within an innovative procedural framework, that helps devise effective policies for the development of sustainable societies.
Relevance in complex systems
GSS is relevant for complex systems, as complex systems methodologies are a core element of the entire course. As suggested by many researchers, complex systems analysis are adopted as a mean to provide more effective and sustainable policies, contributing also to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The theoretical framework developed within the structure of this discipline provides an interesting and effective example of how higher order thinking and the analysis of complex systems could be integrated within the realm of political analysis.
Strong points
- It is multidisciplinary, involving practices from complex systems analysis, computer science and political science;

- It presents a coherent and innovative framework of analysis for policy makers;

- It is strongly related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Transferability potential
Given its multidisciplinary focus, courses like this could be easily adopted in many Higher Education departments, from mathematics to social sciences.