UNEP-ISC Strategic Foresight

The International Science Council (ISC) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) have partnered to advance science-based strategic foresight to develop futures thinking, be better prepared to engage with challenges proactively, and to inform and guide decisions for the benefit of the global environment.

To help navigate uncertainty and rapid and unprecedented changes in the environment, while effectively delivering on its mandate, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is looking to put in place an institutionalized approach to strategic foresight and horizon scanning with the view to developing an anticipatory and future-oriented culture.

This mirrors the growing interest and demand for foresight that is also reinforced by the United Nations reform agenda and the Secretary-General’s report on ‘Our Common Agenda’, which calls for all UN agencies, as well as all UN Member States, to engage in foresight practices more deeply and apply the derived insights to address global systemic risks and support strategic planning.

UNEP and ISC are engaging widely across sectors, scientific disciplines, and knowledge systems to identify key drivers of change, potential signals of change and emerging issues that will impact the achievement of global environmental goals. The foresight and horizon scanning process will include the preparation of a megatrends and foresight report to be published in 2024.

Key milestones

✅ In December 2022, the ISC and UNEP signed a Memorandum of Understanding to cooperate on advancing the use of science in environmental policy and decision-making.

✅ In February 2023, UNEP and the ISC launched a call for nominations of individual experts to establish an independent Expert Panel to guide and oversee critical work on environmental horizon scanning and strategic foresight.

✅ In April 2023, the ISC and UNEP established the Foresight Expert Panel (see full list below).

UNEP-ISC Foresight Expert Panel

Dr. Henrik Carlsen

Stockholm Environment Institute

Prof. Fang Lee Cooke

Monash University

Prof. Ranjan Data

Mount Royal University

Prof. Debra Davidson

University of Alberta

Sir Peter Gluckman

International Science Council

H.E. Dr. Edgar E. Gutierrez-Espeleta

University of Costa Rica, Former Minister of Environment and Energy for Costa Rica

Prof. Gensuo Jia

Chinese Academy of Sciences

Dr. Nicholas King

Wilderness Foundation Africa

Dr. Nadejda Komendantova

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis

Dr. Simone Lucatello

Mexican National Agency for Science and Technology (CONACYT)

Dr. Wilfred Lunga

Human Sciences Research Council

Dr. Nyovani Madise

African Institute for Development Policy

Prof. Diana Mangalagiu

University of Oxford

Dr. Elham Ali Mohamed

The National Authority for Remote Sensing and Space Sciences (NARSS)

Dr. Felix Moronta Barrios

International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology ICGEB

Prof. Michelle Mycoo

The University of the West Indies

Prof. Wibool Piyawatanametha

King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang

Dr. Soumya Swaminathan

M S Swaminathan Research Foundation

Prof. Diana Ürge-Vorsatz

Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy, Central European University

Dr. Salvatore Aricò

Ex-officio Member

International Science Council

Dr. Andrea Hinwood

Ex-officio Member

United Nations Environment Programme

Image by ep_jhu on Flickr.


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