In 1995-96, an independent Panel of experts was invited to conduct an assessment of ICSU. According
to the Panel report, “ICSU and its members need to formulate an innovative process for determining
future directions and for identifying new initiatives”. As a consequence, the Committee on Scientific
Planning and Review (CSPR) was established to advise the Executive Board and the General
Assembly of ICSU. At the 27
th General Assembly in 2002, it was decided to develop a strategic plan
to cover the coming 5-10 years, and the CSPR was charged with developing this process.
It was further suggested that a central component of this planning process should be a broad-based,
forward-looking assessment of issues that may be of growing importance to science and society in the
coming decades, for which ICSU may have a unique, useful role to play in catalyzing the needed
international, interdisciplinary linkages. The first step in this exercise was to commission a metaanalysis
of national foresight studies that have been carried out by national governments around the
world (Identification of Key Emerging Issues in Science and Society: an International Perspective on
National Foresight Studies; ICSU, 2002).