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. In consultation with key actors, the Foresight4Food Initiative is being established to support enhanced foresight and scenario analysis for global food systems.

Foresight4Food aims to provide a mechanism for better analysis and synthesis of key trends and possible futures in global food systems and to support more informed and strategic dialogue between the private sector, government, science and civil society. Development of the Initiative was encouraged by key international organisations, leading research institutes, development agencies and business representatives who participated in a scoping meeting in Oxford in March 2017.

It will support, and not duplicate, the work of existing institutions and platforms dealing with food and agriculture issues by coordinated efforts providing foresight services and analysis to serve multiple purposes and groups. Resources have been secured to help mobilise the initiative and consult more extensively with a full range of actors, platforms and networks who have an interest in food systems foresight.

Development of the Initiative is being guided by a steering group of representatives from the Oxford meeting chaired by Dr Patrick Caron and Professor Tim Benton. An initial support unit for the initiative is being hosted by the Food Systems Group of the Environmental Change Institute of Oxford University led by Dr Jim Woodhill.


In March 22-23, 2017, international experts on food and agriculture gathered in Oxford to explore how foresight and scenario analysis for food systems could be improved. The workshop concluded that to support achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals there is a need to substantially strengthen food systems foresight analysis at all scales and to improve the linkages between scientific analysis and policy dialogue with stakeholders. Participants noted that much valuable work is currently underway but recognised that this is often fragmented or one-off and lacks coordination.


Start-up funding for the Initiative is being provided through the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), The Global Forum for Agricultural Research (GFAR), French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD)/University of Montpellier, and Oxford University.

The initiative has support from key global institutions including FAO and the CGIAR.

Support Unit

The initial support unit for the initiative and the website is hosted by the Food Systems Group of the Environmental Change Institute of Oxford, led by Dr. Jim Woodhill, with additional support provided by Dr. Saher Hasnain