Foresight as a Strategic Long-Term Planning Tool for Developing Countries

Published on 27 May 2014

Governments increasingly realise that few contemporary challenges can be confined to one policy area and that a single-issue focus is in many instances insufficient.

Climate change, for example, crosscuts other issues of concern including access to water, agriculture, food security and urban planning. Information silos common in highly decentralised, bureaucratic organisations can hinder ‘whole-picture’ perspectives.

This presents a further challenge for decision makers tasked with formulating strategies and policies that effectively address interconnected and interdependent problems. In an increasingly complex and rapidly changing world, what is the value of futures thinking and foresight programmes as long-term planning tools in strategic policymaking, especially its implication in the development context of low-income countries?

The purpose of this paper is to support decision and policymakers in developing countries to maximise the strengths and benefits of national foresight programmes, which will require embracing levels of risk and uncertainty outside the typical bureaucrat’s usual comfort zone. 

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