Objectives and pathways
Resilience Frontiers legitimacy comes from a sound methodological foresight analysis process that was developed for the 2019 Songdo Resilience Frontiers brainstorming conference. The collective intelligence exercise used an amalgam of foresight methodologies of UNESCO’s Futures Literacy Lab and Futur/io’s moonshot approaches, which helped to distill the core visions for a resilient future.
This effort resulted in a rigorous consideration of the expected paradigm shifts of the coming decade, and in the identification of three cross-cutting objectives and eight solid pathways towards a resilient future.
The eight interrelated pathways
1. Transforming humanity's interface with nature, building on indigenous values
Reconnecting humanity with nature isn’t an admirable ambition, it is critical if we want to secure the long-term wellbeing of people and planet. Renewing this relationship is the goal of Pathway 1. To forge this interconnectedness, we must engage in human activities that have a sustained net positive effect on nature. Which means prioritising holistic and relational approaches that make us part of nature. We can reach this symbiotic oneness by using tools already available to us, including the knowledge of indigenous peoples, as well as their replicable values and practices, which currently maintain 80 percent of the world’s remaining biodiversity. And we can harness the power of frontier technologies to enrich, rather than deplete, our environment - so we live in harmony with nature, and in the process help fully restore ecosystems to their sustainably functioning selves.
2. Applying lifelong learning for environmental stewardship
For us to live up to our collective responsibility as the stewards of this great planet which sustains us all, we must embark on a lifelong journey of learning that reawakens in every citizen a sense of belonging to nature and an appreciation of our role in protecting it. Pathway 2 is about inspiring this shift in global consciousness and achieving a culture of lifelong learning that becomes the foundation on which we build a climate-resilient world together. By harnessing indigenous ideas like ‘seven generation stewardship’: which teaches people to live with nature in a way that will benefit children seven generations into the future; embracing a lifelong learning paradigm that fosters a complementary set of Rs: Reconnect, Restore and Regenerate; and aligning frontier technologies with these types of new learning objectives, we can move towards a world of permanent resilience.
3. Ensuring universal equitable coverage of, and open access to, big data and information, and related benefits to human wellbeing
In technologies like big data, AI, supercomputing and digital twinning platforms we possess some of the transformational innovations that can ensure the wellbeing of humanity and the natural world. Supercomputers able to process ever-increasing amounts of data can enable faster and more effective solutions to be found in areas including precision medicines, cybersecurity, climate change and clean energy. Pathway 3 is about ensuring we take the opportunity to harness and scale the immense power of these technologies in the collective interests of all. Which means decision-makers within the public and private sectors creating ‘tech with a conscience’ and legislating to ensure it is always governed in the best interests of people and planet. And at all times there must be universal and equitable connectivity to allow citizen science to contribute to important local data collection, as we move forward ethically and with a focus on ensuring the security of personal data.
4. Managing water and other natural resources in an equitable and participatory way
Natural resources provide people and planet with the vital ecosystems they need to survive and thrive. They cannot be managed in isolation, or in the interests of a few, if we are serious about conservation and restoration. Pathway 4 views this transboundary management challenge as an opportunity to nurture a culture of trust in coordinating efforts to protect the most important of our ecosystem services: the water cycle; other natural resources; and biodiversity. Which can be done by embracing new ways of participatory and equitable working, to secure the climate-resilient, water-secure world we all want to live in. These collaborative management networks, and the huge potential of citizen science to inform better decision making, can be supported by geospatial, AI and data technologies that enable easy monitoring of transboundary resources to benefit all the communities that live along their path.
5. Managing transboundary considerations equitably
Imagine the type of world we can live in if cooperation rather than competition comes to define human interactions. Facing the tough challenges of climate change and other phenomena resulting from our unsustainable and destructive actions since the Industrial Revolution, we must now coordinate our actions and collective responses to these if we are to move the world towards permanent resilience. Pathway 5 wants us to do this by establishing holistic and effective transboundary relationships that prioritise the conservation, restoration, and regeneration of ecosystems spanning political borders. Which establish relationships people can trust to deliver human wellbeing, equity, dignity and inalienable rights, including the dignified resettlement of persons displaced by climate change impacts and other hazards. International agreements already in place to promote cooperation for shared resources can serve as a starting point, along with the equitable use of frontier technologies, to develop this new transboundary management culture of collaboration.
6. Optimising future health and wellbeing using a holistic and ecosystem approach
Communities, architects, designers, ecologists, and urban planners must come together to take forward holistic and ecosystem-centred approaches to neighbourhood design that can reintegrate our society with the natural world. Pathway 6 wants to create these regenerative and restorative neighbourhoods so that they optimise human health by maximising immunity and minimising ailments. A process that can be accelerated through the creation of a balanced synergy and healthy interface between housing units, ecosystems, and food production within those future neighbourhoods. Because good health and wellbeing is intrinsically linked to the sustainability of ecosystems and of food production, the quality of the environment, and to the geometry of the natural and built environments. Meaning sensitive urban planning that embraces elements of biomimicry design, the use of frontier technologies, and is underpinned by a heightened understanding of our oneness with nature, will deliver newly transformed neighbourhoods that come to mirror ecological patterns and to exist in harmony with them within a new interconnected world of symbiotic biomes.
7. Mainstreaming regenerative food production
Our broken food systems are today responsible for 25% of global greenhouse gas emissions and rapid biodiversity loss. Our industrial levels of animal agriculture alone are a top three contributor to water pollution, soil erosion, loss of rainforests, and climate change - making it more harmful to the climate than the combined impact of all transportation. Pathway 7 focuses on fixing these destructive systems through the growth of smaller-scale holistic and regenerative practices that help renew nature, confer resilience and ensure food security. This means learning from the replicable practices of indigenous peoples, who have long been successful in preserving soil, reducing erosion, conserving water and reducing the risk of disasters. Evidenced by their efforts in the Amazon, where ecosystems improve when indigenous people inhabit them. Environmentally sound farming solutions can also be mainstreamed using frontier technologies such as AI, which can analyse soil conditions, water usage, climactic changes – and other key indicators - in real time.
8. Developing transformative financial instruments
Pathway 8 is advocating for the development of transformative financial instruments that factor in the need to nurture environmental and human wellbeing. Using emerging technologies, including those within the fintech space, tracking finance, and accelerating sustainable practices, can be done through mechanisms that facilitate the transition to an inclusive, low-carbon world. One where the investment culture is characterised by its desire to deploy capital to fund ventures and individuals that are striving to deliver a climate-resilient and just world. And where the wider financial system offers fair access to support both citizens and businesses working hard to mitigate climate-related risks and instability. So that we come to replace the outdated models of finance that have prevented key workers like smallholder farmers - responsible for producing more than a third of our global food supply, from gaining easy access to small loans to grow their crops.
Download the briefs for the pathways here