Foresight for Food in an Uncertain World

Multiple drivers are emerging that may radically affect global food systems. Collectively, these issues suggest the future of food systems is more uncertain than typically considered.

This uncertainty calls for more forward-looking analysis, as “business as usual” projections of trends may not well forecast future conditions. This is the role of foresight and scenario analyses.

There have been many recent exercises looking to the future, yet making sense of them is dif cult. They can paint a confused picture that does not aid policy analysis or societal understanding. There is, therefore, a critical need to collate, synthesise and promote best practice in this area. Foresight is a key tool that governments, private sector and civil society can jointly use to better understand future risks and opportunities in food systems, explore possible futures and to adapt – before crises hit. Yet, current foresight efforts are often fragmented or one-off and do not take full advantage of the complementarity of qualitative and quantitative approaches. Further, the science of foresight requires much better connecting with societal debate and policy dialogue to support change.

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