This discussion paper has been produced in the framework of the research project ‘Development Policy: Questions for the Future’, made possible by funding from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) which is gratefully acknowledged.
This project aims to stimulate thinking about how the context that development cooperation policy responds to could change in the long-term, and has evaluated methods of futures analysis and seeks to apply these methods to analyze emerging development cooperation challenges to this end.
As the present paper illustrates, future-oriented methods of analysis including scenario analysis methods have already been applied by a variety of organizations seeking to speculate on the direction that the future might take and to motivate political action. The assessment of the existing scenario analyses reviewed in this paper draws attention to key forces shaping the future of the world and highlights lessons for building a more sustainable future.
In particular, the author stresses the importance of improving the integration of development and environmental sustainability strategies at the national level, within donor countries, and in the context of multilateral cooperation. Outside of the discussion of the development policy implications of the UN Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA) and the International Energy Agency (IEA) scenario exercises, the paper also indirectly highlights another important challenge for the development research and policy community in the future: how to ensure that knowledge generated by one organization for a specific purpose, sometimes at great expense, can be made accessible to a wider audience in the service of addressing more widely shared goals.