Taking Foresight4Food Forward

Update for December 2018

Current Situation

Following the successful Foresight4Workshop in Montpellier in May 2018, funding was sought from the Open Society Foundations to support the continued leadership and secretariat functions that have been provided to-date by the University of Oxford. This funding was approved in early October. It will provide 18 months of support to help further catalyse the Foresight4Food Initiative. The funding will cover secretariat staffing of a part-time Initiative Lead, a full-time Research and Community of Practice Coordinator, part-time support from a senior staff member of the Food Systems Group at the Environmental Change Institute, and administration and travel costs.

The focus of the work over the coming period will be to proactively support the development of a Community of Practice and to seek resources to undertake the priority areas of work identified at the Oxford and Montpellier meetings.

This is an opportunity to move forward with the initiative necessitates clarification of the governance structure.

Proposed Governance Structure

Based on feedback from the Montpellier meeting, the following governance structure is being established:

Steering Committee

Approximately twelve-member group of interested leading practitioners in the food system foresight field who can provide a broad perspective on global and regional processes and help to link Foresight4Food with key platforms and initiatives.

Criteria for establishing membership of the Steering Group will be:

  • Members being leading practitioners with an understanding of food systems and foresight.
  • Members having strong links with organisations and platforms involved in food systems and being in a position to promote and gain support for the work of Foresight4Food.
  • As far as possible, the overall composition has a balance of representation from global and regional scales and from global institutions, governmental organisations, research, private sector and civil society.
  • The committee is gender balanced.

The process of selecting members will be for current Co-Chairs to identify and invite potential members, drawing where appropriate on people who have been actively engaged in the Foresight4Food Initiative to date, seeking feedback from the current steering group.

Co-chairs will be selected by nominations from the Steering Group, agreed to by consensus.

The Steering Committee would provide overall guidance to the Initiative and take key decisions (based on a quorum of five members including the two Co-Chairs). Initially it would meet virtually three times a year with additional email consultation as necessary.

Executive Group

An Executive Group comprised of the Co-Chairs and University of Oxford Secretariat Host Representative will provide day-to-day guidance to the Secretariat.

Stakeholder Group

A wider group of initially an additional 20 to 30 key organisations and initiatives who are key partners, users and supporters of Foresight4Food. The size of the Group may grow over time.  They would indorse the initiative as a partner organisation/initiative and have their logos on the Foresight4Food website as participating partners. In principle, there would be a focal/contact point in each organisation/initiative who will be consulted by the Steering Committee on key directions and decisions. For transparency, business platforms rather than individual firms would be sought as members of the stakeholder group.

It is anticipated that Stakeholder Group members will be actively involved in delivering aspects of the Foresight4Food agenda and as such would be actively consulted and as appropriate, invited to participate in relevant Steering Group discussions.

Community of Practice

The Community of Practice will be formed of any individual, organisation, or initiative who would like to be part of and engage with the Foresight4Food Initiative. They can register their interest participate in community of practice events and would be kept up-to-date through email and social media platforms.


Activities for Coming 12 Months

The Montpellier Workshop outlined six key areas for action to enhance food system foresight:

  1. Brokering Communities of Practice for food system foresight users and providers
  2. Synthesis and analysis of existing foresight work
  3. Providing a foresight resource portal, food systems dashboard of key trends, and communication materials
  4. Bridging hub for linking foresight users and providers to support global, regional, and national foresight and dialogue processes
  5. Identifying and brokering new foresight work on gaps and emerging issues
  6. Developing capacity for enhanced foresight at all scales

The Open Society Foundation funding for the Secretariat will enable initial progress to be made across these areas while at the same time exploring options for additional resources.

Priorities for the work of the Secretariat over the coming 12 months will be:

Putting in place a revised governance structure and supporting the Steering Group and Co-Chairs

  1. Confirming governance structure with existing steering group
  2. Inviting and confirming members of revised Steering Committee
  3. Holding two virtual meetings of Steering Group

Engaging with key interested stakeholders and widening the support base

  1. Inviting membership of Stakeholder Group
  2. Establishing list of members of community of practice
  3. Bilateral visits with key stakeholders to promote and seek support for Foresight4Food
  4. Develop a network of leading academic institutions (North and South)
  5. Identify a key set of conferences and events at which to engage in 2019
  6. Engage with WEF Dialogues

Supporting the development of a community of practice

  1. Communicate with all those involved to date about next steps
  2. Identify key topics and themes of interest to community
  3. Host a series of webinars and online discussions
  4. Develop a series of invited blogs, podcasts
  5. Develop and maintain active social media presence particularly on twitter
  6. Experiment with a series of crowd (community of practice)-sourcing exercises on foresight
  7. Proactively link different foresight initiatives
  8. Develop a document on “modelling food system” that provides an overview of modelling capabilities

Updating web-site and developing the resource portal and dashboard

  1. Improve the visual appearance and content of the web-site
  2. Develop a framework of the key food systems dimensions around which to gather existing information and infographics
  3. Provide easy access to key data on food systems change
  4. Maintain resource directory of groups working on foresight
  5. Maintain resource directory of food systems related modelling work
  6. Update on new publications and resources
  7. Improve sections on foresight and scenario methodology

Preliminary synthesis of existing foresight studies

  1. Develop a methodology for synthesis
  2. Identify existing foresight work
  3. Look at key commonalities and differences in assumptions and outcomes
  4. Develop proposal for more detailed synthesis
  5. Produce academic paper on the Foresight need concept and approach

Interacting with foresight activities/events and capacity development regionally and globally

  1. Work with FARA and GFAR on Africa Foresight Hub
  2. Engage with South Asia foresight initiative and training programme
  3. TEMPAG and Fresh
  4. Holding pre-event at EAT 2019
  5. Holding an event at CFS 2019

Resource mobilisation for larger scale and longer-term work

  1. Develop detailed activity and resources requirement plans from Montpellier workshop
  2. Identify key opportunities for collaboration with existing foresight work
  3. Hold initial discussion with potential funders
  4. Develop targeted funding proposals
  5. Develop specific proposals for Gate Grand Challenge calls and other funding calls
  6. Seek support for a larger scale foresight event in 2020