Development of a Forecasting Framework and Scenarios to Support the EU Sustainable Development Strategy

  • Project no.3311

FORESCENE has developed a generic framework for creating sustainability scenarios which has been applied on the EU level but could potentially be used at different scales and in various contexts. A sequence of questions was explored by combined analytical and participatory approaches.
For a comprehensive problem definition, the cross-cutting drivers of different environmental topics such as biodiversity, soil, water, resource use and waste were determined. The Wuppertal Institute was in charge of resource use and waste. The work sought to address the question "What is the problem?".
Experts and stakeholders were involved in a targeted process to delineate desirable goals for activity fields such as agriculture, infrastructure/land use, economy/industry. In terms of future strategies, they were asked "Where to go?".
Key strategies were defined which were expected to have cross-sectoral multi-beneficial effects. Thus the experts were asked, given the goals identified, "How to get there?".
The project team then checked the options for modelling. A new kind of meta-model was created as a heuristic tool to support policy development. The FORESCENE model allows to back-cast which combinations of strategies allow to reach predefined sustainability targets ("What needs to be done?").

Using the method of Bayesian networks the model can integrate "hard" analytical findings of existing models and "soft" expert judgement. The results are assigned a probability.
The FORESCENE model has been designed to reveal and minimize problem shifting between issues and regions, in particular to consider effects of intra EU activities to other regions.

A special focus was laid on the effects of increased resource productivity as a key cross-cutting strategy for sustainability. Land use management and increased use of biomass was considered, and the impacts were assessed with regard to biodiversity, total resource extraction, waste, and the water balance. For the EU-25, baseline and alternative scenarios were developed with long-term perspective until 2050.
The Wuppertal Institute has coordinated the project over its entire term.

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