There is more and more demand for foresight for many reasons:
- Longer term development demands at national and international levels, that are explicit and expressed, such as the SDGs, NDCs. This raises the question of how to help countries framing their own objectives and trajectories, consider business as usual, alternative and aspirational pathways.
- Need to be coherent and consistent internally to FTA, and also vis a vis our stakeholders and external partners: what are the scenarios we base our research upon and generate?
- Also, the need to be able to influence agendas and to contribute setting narratives – as an element of the relevance and impact of our research for the global development agenda.
At global level, there is a bubbling interest and talk about foresight on agriculture and food both in the CGIAR, and outside, including in FAO and the Foresight4Food initiative. There are also major gaps, such as on land-use related foresight. Forests are still largely considered as a “land bank” for agricultural expansion within foresight studies. Conversely number of studies highlight the need for forest expansion as a major component of climate change mitigation strategies both for bioenergy and biomaterials and as carbon sinks. There is a need to put together these perspectives.
To answer these needs, Foresight in FTA contributes to the four main following objectives:
- Enable the identification of possible future for land use and forests, trees and agroforestry that take into account the various drivers of change that apply to them
- Ensure that forests, trees and agroforestry are properly accounted for in global foresight studies
- Use foresight results to prioritize research and development needs
- Provide a global framework (global futures and methodologies) that could serve for sectoral and local studies, and for the set of FTA bilateral projects as a way of increasing the consistency of the underlying set of scenarios and hypotheses.