Advancing the 2030 agenda in a context of uncertainty The Use of Strategic Foresight for Adaptive and Future Ready SDG Strategies


On Friday the 13th July, SOIF was part of a 5 organisation strategic foresight side-session at the High Level Political Forum at the United Nations in New York. We were ably led by Arndt Husar at the UNDP Global Centre for Public Service Excellence — a leading development agency of the United Nations system that partners with countries in strengthening their institutions and supporting democratic governance  — who brought Riel Miller, UNESCO, Duncan Cass-Beggs, OECD, and Pierre Schooneraad from South Africa government CPSI to discuss “Advancing the 2030 Agenda in a Context of Uncertainty”, an event focusing on the use of strategic foresight to develop adaptive and future-ready sustainable development goals (SDG) strategies.

The 50 attendees from governments, civil society organisations and international orgranisations came from all around the world and gathered at the United Nations headquarters in New York for a half day of introduction and training to help them develop a greater level of futures literacy.

Advancing the 2030 Agenda in a Context of Uncertainty centred on the idea that the world in 2030 will create new challenges and opportunities, vastly different from today. Accelerating technological transformation and profound geopolitical shifts combined with social, demographic, and environmental trends are the direct sources of this uncertainty and have the potential to create rapid change on an unprecedented global scale.

By introducing the application of strategic foresight, Advancing the 2030 Agenda in a Context of Uncertaintyproposed strategic foresight as the key to building an on-going participatory governance and the ability to better identify emerging changes and more effectively respond to them, so enabling the transformation towards “sustainable and resilient societies.”

Attendees were introduced to the concepts of alternative futures and strategic foresight. Diverse panels and interactive group exercises were designed to challenge conventional thinking and generate thought-provoking ideas for follow-up action, while focusing on SDG 11 “inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities and human settlements” throughout the afternoon.

The day was presented by: The School of International Futures (SOIF), Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI), Government of South Africa Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) UNDP Global Centre for Public Service Excellence (GCPSE), Singapore.  Among the speakers was Arndt Husar, member of the United Nations Development Programme and director at the GCPSE centre; Duncan Cass-Beggs, counsellor for strategic foresight at the OECD; Pierre Schoonraad, Executive Director and Head of Research and Development at CPSI; Riel Miller, Head of Foresight / Futures Literacy at UNESCO in Paris and SOIF’s Catarina Tully.

Watch the webcast here:



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