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Strategic Foresight in an international context

As a government, it is crucial to be prepared for long-term developments and geopolitical changes. By integrating strategic foresight analyses into policymaking, governments can enhance resilience and future-proof policies. This approach enables the development of robust policymaking frameworks capable of anticipating unforeseen challenges and capitalising on emerging opportunities effectively.

For these strategic foresight analyses, the Government of Flanders is collaborating with a number of other countries and regions, as well as with several international institutions such as the OECD and the European Union, both pioneers in the field of strategic foresight.

In conducting these strategic foresight analyses, we employ a range of methods that apply long-term thinking to make policies future-proof.

Examples of these methods include:

  • Scenario analysis: a method that utilises a series of pathways in the form of storylines to envision possible future scenarios, reflecting various interpretations of the present and future, in order to recognise weak signals of change, test the robustness of strategies, and gain insight into the coherence and dynamics of long-term developments.
  • Megatrend analysis: a method that refers to the identification of transformative developments driving global change. These transformative forces encompass a range of critical issues such as geopolitical shifts, climate change and digitalisation.
  • Backcasting: a method that starts with a desired future state and then works backwards to determine what needs to happen to achieve that future.

Collaborations and Initiatives

  • As part of the Strategic Foresight for Resilience initiative, the Government of Flanders is collaborating with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Together, they assessed the existing strategic foresight capacity and needs within the government of Flanders. Recommendations were furthermore formulated on how to enhance this capacity and utilise it effectively.
  • On 18 April, 2024, the Leaders Meeting “Fit for the Future: Global Challenges, Regional Solutions” took place within the framework of the Belgian presidency of the Council of the European Union. In order to prepare this meeting, twelve European regions took part in a strategic foresight workshop, organised by Flanders, to explore global challenges and opportunities for cooperation.
  • On 29 May, 2024, foresight experts from various European regions convened at Living Tomorrow’s Innovation Campus as part of the Strategic Foresight for Resilience initiative. At this gathering, a blueprint(opens in new window) for future-proof policymaking was unveiled, informed by a comprehensive analysis from the OECD. Read the report with the key insights and takeaways of the day Building a Resilient Europe(PDF file opens in new window).

The #Ourfutures – Stories for the Future of Europe project

Within this context, the Government of Flanders, together with a number of regional partners, is actively promoting the #Ourfutures - Stories for the Future of Europe story collector under the Strategic Foresight for Resilience initiative. This story collector is an initiative of the European Commission in which Flanders participates within the framework of the presidency of the Council of the European Union (the so-called EU presidency).

With #Ourfutures, we gather the stories of citizens living in different European regions. These stories are ultimately stored in a database intended for European policymakers. After analysing the stories, they can draw up concrete, forward-looking recommendations for policy actions at the European level.

Share your own story about the future of Europe in the #Ourfutures - Stories for the Future of Europe story collector(opens in new window). (You can choose your preferred language using the button in the top right corner.)