UNEP Online Course: The Ecosystem Approach and Systems Thinking

Many problems we face today involve interdependent structures, multiple actors, and are at least partly the result of past actions. Such problems are extremely difficult to tackle and conventional solutions have very often led to unintended consequences.

Finding answers to current crises such as fisheries collapse, climate change, biodiversity loss, infectious diseases, and inequitable access to resources will be amongst the greatest challenges of our time. The ecosystem approach applies systems thinking to gain a better understanding of how ecosystems function. It can help us identify potential solutions to a myriad of problems inspired in part by the complex dynamics of ecosystems themselves. UN Environment in collaboration with Concordia University, KnowledgeOne and EcoHealth Alliance, has opened a new Massive On-line Open Course (MOOC) on “Wicked Problems, Dynamic Solutions: The Ecosystem Approach and Systems Thinking".

This 6-week (40 hours) course, running from September to November 2016, is the first MOOC focusing on the ecosystem approach and systems thinking. It will enhance your knowledge of the basic features of ecosystems; the ecosystem approach and systems thinking from an interdisciplinary perspective; give you an understanding of the distinction between reductionist and holistic thinking; and enhance your capacity of the inter-relationships between ecosystems and human systems.

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