Necessary complexity in the Anthropocene: new approaches in socio-ecological systems thinking, Do No Harm, and fragility integration
Lecturing Fellow Maureen Moriarty draws on complexity-informed approaches that more directly and practically integrate socio-ecological systems thinking into urgently needed conflict-informed action.
Maureen Moriarty, lecturing fellow at the Duke Center for International Development, co-authored “Necessary complexity in the Anthropocene: new approaches in socio-ecological systems thinking, Do No Harm, and fragility integration,” which is published in Development in Practice.
In the paper, Moriarty and co-authors Siad Darwish, research associate at the University of Melbourne’s Initiative for Peacebuilding, and Ruth Rhoads Allen, president and chief collaboration officer at CDA, build on established approaches that apply systems thinking to understand complex interactions among ecologies, among humanitarian and development efforts, and within societal conflicts, and propose an integrated systemic approach for conflict analysis and action in the context of the Anthropocene.
“The links between climate change, fragility, and conflict have received growing attention over the past decade,” the authors write in the paper’s abstract. “Yet, the theory and analysis underlying conflict-sensitive practice has not figured significantly in these developments, thus limiting effective action and policy. While there is pressing need for climate adaptation efforts, climate change-related disaster response, and low-carbon development to leverage local capacities for peace and avoid exacerbating conflict dynamics, existing conflict sensitivity frameworks (a) lack sufficient emphasis on action and (b) struggle to incorporate the complex, systemic interactions among ecologies, societal conflict, and aid, or other efforts to address fragility.
“This paper draws on complexity-informed approaches that more directly and practically integrate socio-ecological systems thinking into urgently needed conflict-informed action. Specifically, the paper establishes the basis for integrating CDA Collaborative Learning Projects’ systems-based Reflecting on Peace Practice (RPP) approach and Do No Harm (DNH) framework for accountable analysis and action amidst conflict, and reframing the key analytical categories of Connectors and Dividers to Resilience and Vulnerabilities.”
Moriarty has more than 25 years of experience in international development. She is a CDA Senior Associate in Land and Human Security, specializing in corruption, transnational organization crime, and financial crimes.