Linking multi-actor futures for food systems and environmental governance uri icon


  • The food systems/global environmental change nexus is a key area of research that links two major interconnected challenges humanity faces in the 21st century. This paper discusses the role of strategic foresight for tackling these challenges in spaces that aim to facilitate deliberative, multi-actor governance. First, we reflect on the role of foresight in the domains of global food futures and global environmental change and its impacts on governance in these domains. Then, we explore how lessons from both domains can be integrated by examining an on-going international foresight program: the CGIAR program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). Using multi-stakeholder scenarios interacting with global market/water/land cover models, this program explores trade-offs, synergies and other relationships between food security and environmental governance in the developing world. The CCAFS foresight process takes a complex systems approach, exploring the inter-connectedness of food systems and environmental systems. This systems approach includes the acknowledgement that diverse sources of knowledge and experience are crucial both to systems understanding and to concerted action toward sustainable and accepted change. Key to the CCAFS foresight process is the ambition to go beyond a disconnected futures process and to integrate foresight into the daily realities of multi-actor governance. We discuss how well the CCAFS foresight program connects food systems and environmental change futures and whether it succeeds in integrating strategic foresight in both governance dimensions. Based on this case we outline challenges and opportunities for foresight in the food systems/environments nexus

publication date

  • 2013