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پیش بینی: یک ابزار مهم در مقابله با توسعه پایدار

کد مقاله سال انتشار مقاله انگلیسی ترجمه فارسی تعداد کلمات
29369 2010 13 صفحه PDF سفارش دهید محاسبه نشده
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عنوان انگلیسی
Foresight: A major tool in tackling sustainable development
منبع

Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)

Journal : Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Volume 77, Issue 9, November 2010, Pages 1575–1587

کلمات کلیدی
پیش بینی استراتژیک - توسعه پایدار - برنامه ریزی پایدار - اکولوژی
پیش نمایش مقاله
پیش نمایش مقاله پیش بینی: یک ابزار مهم در مقابله با توسعه پایدار

چکیده انگلیسی

For many decades, the concept of sustainability has been highly successful in public policies and even in the business world.1 Nowadays, all initiatives must be sustainable and are primarily assessed on that criterion. However, the efforts made to construct specific methods dedicated to building sustainable strategies seem rather weak. Futurists themselves underestimate the relationship between sustainable development and foresight, even if they are talking about sustainable planning. 2 They remain generally unaware that foresight could be a major tool in tackling sustainability as well as one of the best methods of preparing sustainable strategies and policies. Indeed, one of the biggest problems in sustainability approaches is the simplistic way used to define the concept, for instance, by using only the very first part of the 1987 the Bruntland report Our Common Future and by limiting the fields of activity on sustainability to the three pillars of the OECD model: economy, social questions, environment. At the Copenhagen United Nations Climate Change Conference (December 2009), it seemed forgotten that sustainability is already an old issue in which futurists were heavily involved at the time of the United Nations Stockholm Environment Conference (1972), in the Limits to Growth Report, published by the Club of Rome (1972) 3 and in the OECD Interfutures Foresight, spurred on by Jacques Lesourne (1978). 4 Since that time (forty years ago!) researchers and consultants have learned how to deal with the concept of sustainability, how to analyze it as an ultimate aim for society as a whole as well as a complex object that needs to be approached with adequate methods such as systemic analysis. As Christian Stoffaës said, the aim of foresight is sustainable development in a changing world. As a result, the ultimate aim of strategic foresight appears to be clear: it is sustainability. This article highlights that fundamental relationship as we see it today.5

مقدمه انگلیسی

The relationship between foresight and sustainable development is not new. First of all, the two concepts date back a long way. Development is found within change, extension, growth, progress and therefore duration; spanning a long period of time. Each of these words represents a gateway that opens out onto a potential need for clarification when compared with the sciences, whether economic, political or social, as well as requiring clarification on some highly strategic decisions. Futurists have generally considered the concept of sustainable development not as a means but as an end; that is to say, a general desirable aim, viewed as being possible to achieve over the long-term and that we will attempt to translate into strategic axes. When seen from this angle, sustainable development carries with it a real sense of action, in particular, political action which, for Pierre Massé, consisted first of suggesting the invigorating ultimate aim of having justice expanded to all corners of the world to citizens from privileged nations. That means promote literacy and basic education and ensure food for the countries of the South in terms of resources as well as distribution. Even if it amounts to prospective thinking, noted the former French Director of Planning, one of the fundamental questions consists of wondering whether it is desirable that, in the twenty-first century, the largest share of the planet is set to become one immense America; in other words, that environmental pollution, urban crowding, difficulties moving around and the creation of an artificial living space will become widespread throughout humanity [1]. Christian Stoffaës quite rightly underlined that the ultimate aim of foresight is sustainable development in a changing world [...]. He added that, from that moment, the end aim of foresight emerged clearly: sustainability [2].

نتیجه گیری انگلیسی

It is considered good form in the scientific community (not to mention among foresight researchers) to value sustainable development, its potential uses and implementation while acknowledging that it is an abstract concept, fluctuating, ambiguous and not very operational [36]. The argument generally put forward consists of underlining the interest in taking the long-term into account while being concerned with the rhetoric nature or ethical dimension of the concept. The futurist Pierre Gonod also noted in one of his last public appearances that the interdisciplinarity of the sustainable development approach concerned researchers who were often prisoners of their faculty disciplines and that, as such, they would act more as citizens than scientists [37]. The ambiguity (real or presumed) that is attributed to the concept of sustainable development inspired our wish to recall that the work of conceptualization was not summarized by two lines in the Brundtland Report. On the contrary, the concept displays its considerable richness when placed within a historical perspective on one hand and its systemic and holistic dimension is highlighted on the other hand. Furthermore, the affirmation of values such as equity, solidarity and proactivity which appears in the Brundtland Report, should not alarm the futurist who knows that values are elements which are necessary if not indispensable in constructing a shared vision. These values also have the particular quality of claiming to be universal, not those of a world that has been built locally and then imported, but a universe built collectively which transcends different ways of thinking, doctrines and cultures. We have recalled that futurists see sustainable development as an ultimate aim. As Mostafa K. Tolba said, affirming sustainable development as we did thirty years ago clearly meant that our model of development was not sustainable and that, as such, it needed to be changed [38]. In order to achieve this, more operational strategies are of course needed and they need to be implemented. Agenda 21, as drafted at the Rio Summit, is only a small part of it but it is already highly ambitious [39]. In the eyes of futurists, willingness is also a key ingredient in the success of the projects that they lead or take part in. After all, pioneer French futurist Gaston Berger did assert that we must not ignore the seriousness but use it, that we must not undergo but do, that we must not abandon things but go even higher by drawing support from them, that we must not ignore the steep hill—[…]—but climb it [40]. Values, willingness, ultimate aims, there is good reason for a vision [41]. If we had to add any symbols, it could be noted that at least one of the versions of the text of the World Commission's Report on the Environment and Development dates back to Nairobi, 10 March 1987, which constitutes a happy return to history for the capital of Kenya and for the headquarters of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), five years after the disaster of the Earth Summit [30]. These elements are not merely peripheral to foresight. “The Future [is] not in the tools but in the minds making the tools,” said Pentti Malaska. [42] On the operational side, is the futurist attitude not equally as determining a factor as the toolbox? Is the essential aspect of foresight not found within the capacity for making things move, wanting change, the desire for transformation? One step is to identify the future possibilities, seek alternatives and say what the desirable outcome is. Another is not to strive for it. This is particularly true when the risks have been identified. A decision to do nothing is a decision to increase the risk of collapse, advocated the team behind the Limits of Growth [12]. Just after the publication of the Brundtland Report, some people became aware that what had emerged was a new interest in the evolution of people themselves, faced with environmental constraints which could affect them and the phenomenal development of knowledge which they were witnessing, and were often not participating in. Attentive observers picked up on a reversal of trends compared with the previous period; one with economic growth and where the concerns were essentially economic, technological and energetic. In the view of these people such as W.H. Clive Simmons, the question became: while the world hopefully begins to learn the Chinese lesson that harmony may prove a better long term strategy than dominance, how can we tackle these problems more specifically in the long-term? Simmons considered that new starting points were needed to deal with the rising importance of the human, social, cultural and environmental component of foresight [43]. At the time, the Canadian consultant advocated turning towards the methodological works of Kimon Valaskakis, who had developed a summary of ‘Anglo-Saxon’ future studies and ‘Latin’ foresight [44] as well as looking towards the work of John Robinson on backcasting [45]. Beyond that, Simmons demonstrated a whole range of new but difficult areas that were opening up to foresight. Truthfully, some twenty years after these questions were asked and despite the enormous movement towards the concept of sustainable development becoming widely used, one wonders whether futurists truly did invest in this field. Suspicious of traditions as well as anti-conformist, in a world of disciplinary research in which their interdisciplinarity did not help them to find their place, futurists are, by nature, reticent to adopt fashionable concepts. In fact, a sort of paradox emerges here. On the one hand, there is no doubt that sustainable development lies at the heart of futurists' writings: a simple glance at the table of contents in the main foresight journals attest to this. Moreover, the questions posed by sustainable development, as we have seen from what futurists believe is at stake, mean that it is quite likely that those same questions have been investigated for a long time. On the other hand, one thing remains striking: in a decision-making world, such as research or consultancy, foresight does not appear naturally as the method for sustainable development. However, how many times have futurists bemoaned the fact that the political decision-makers or even young people have not been or are still not aware of the future and, as such, live in the short-term present? [35] Since the 1980s, the idea of sustainable development manufacturing the future has helped it to become a thought-provoking concept all over the world and especially in younger generations. It is therefore a truly dynamic process of raising awareness of the three essential characteristics of foresight that were covered in the introduction: involving the long-term and over a long period of time, calling for interdisciplinary analysis of complex systems and being action-oriented. This is the link between sustainable development and foresight which must be consolidated, explained and then popularized. One initiative in this direction has been launched by the French Ministry for Ecology, Energy, Sustainable Development and the Sea (MEEDDM), which, since 2008, has had a futurist, or foresight, mission. This initiative has three purposes. Firstly, it coordinates the ministry's foresight discussions and serves as resource centre on foresight while ensuring interaction with the main foresight networks at both the national and international levels. Moreover, the foresight mission communicates on the long-term stakes and the developmental axes linked to sustainable development through a monitoring project looking towards 2030–2050. Within an open perspective to both international and civil society, the foresight mission leads a think-tank dedicated to subjects concerning the future, imagining and developing several models for production and consumption heading in the direction of sustainable development. Lastly, it navigates and carries out foresight work on long-term models and transitions to sustainable development by drawing support from research programs such as post-carbon cities, the transition to a green economy, sustainable land, reconfiguring research and expertise systems, etc. [46] One of the futurists in the ministry, an architect of this initiative, argued on the basis of the importance of foresight in the subject of sustainable development. Incorporating the existence of long-term objectives into decision-making, taking into account the eventuality or the need for ruptures, drafting transition strategies… all doesn't happen overnight. Hence the importance of futurist approaches which, from this threefold perspective, have some decisive contributions to make—whether it is about transforming the collective imagination, removing obstacles to change or together mapping out ways to shift towards other methods of consuming, producing, living, travelling or accessing nature. Past experience has shown that this is also an instrument that can contribute towards dialogue and is a useful tool to assist compromises to be found between positions which can be very divergent [47]. A guide aimed at making the tool of foresight more familiar to those involved in commitments at national level has been written and is based on the concerns surrounding sustainable development and construction. The approach is mainly taken up with illustrating the process of foresight to which we contributed at the request of the European Commission (DG Research, DG Enterprise and Industry, DG Regional Policy) as well as the Committee of the Regions, within the framework of the Mutual Learning Platform [48] and, in parallel with the Wallonia Territorial Intelligence Platform [49]. This collective process was not conducted in isolation but was clearly sustained over numerous interactions. The methods were the subject of an additional description corresponding to each of the envisaged phases. The plan draws inspiration from the experience of the state of Virginia's foresight approach. That experience has been presented in the workshop dedicated to Foresight in State Government and in particular to the states of Virginia and Kentucky, held in Chicago on 30 July 2005 within the framework of the World Future Society's Foresight Innovation and Strategy conference. By understanding these experiences, it was possible to refine the idea of a continous foresight process and even to draw inspiration from it in terms of representation. The process also adapts the formulation of foresight diagnosis, so dear to Philippe Mirenowicz (Conservatoire national des Arts et Métiers [CNAM] and GERPA), to show that possible futures should be studied as well as making a traditional diagnosis. [50] As for Hugues de Jouvenel (Futuribles), he uses the concept of dynamic diagnosis to refer to this particular aspect. 13 The process has been organized into seven phases. 7.1. Preparation of the foresight (Phase 1) The aims of this phase were to define the motivation and objectives of the exercise, identify the key actors to associate with the approach, to devise a work programme specifying the various key stages, the products of the approach, the means of participation and dissemination of the work as well as setting up project management structures. The aim of this phase was to define the operational tools for network connectivity and communication, in particular, the design of the initiative's website that would allow everyone to participate, communication brochures halfway through (presentation of the vision) and at the end (presentation of the strategy and actions). 7.2. Phase 2. Foresight diagnosis This collective and transversal analysis was aimed at providing in-depth knowledge of the various characteristics of the situation, by taking into account both the reality of the indicators and the mental representations and perceptions it induces. This analysis placed importance on the region's internal and external evolutionary trends, to possible evolutions and ruptures (the possible futures), as well as the region's transborder and interregional positioning. It was also a joint moment of capitalisation and ownership of the reflective work and strategic projects elaborated previously in all or part of the region. 7.3. Phase 3. Identification of long-term issues The knowledge acquired in phase 1 constituted the basis for the identification of the main determining issues for the long-term evolution and the factors of change that would have an impact in the coming decades. It was also a matter of identifying the actors' level of mastery of these various issues. 7.4. Phase 4. Construction of the common vision Based on the long-term issues identified, it was a question of formulating a vision that consisted of defining common values and ultimate aims. The collective formulation of a desired future allowed the collective strategy of policy-makers, stakeholders (businesses, public services, associations, etc.) and citizens to be guided to meet the issues identified in concrete terms. 7.5. Phase 5. Definition of the key strategic areas Here, it was a matter of proposing key strategic areas likely to help the region achieve the described vision of its desirable future by the chosen horizon, and meet the present and future issues identified collectively. These key strategic areas therefore constituted the structure of the project to be implemented at the end of the exercise. 7.6. Phase 6. Implementation of concrete actions The ultimate product consists of concrete actions within the scope of a strategic defined environment, taking into account the decision-makers' frame of intervention. Particular attention was paid to the convergence between the individual motivations of the actors and the strategic vision defined on a common basis. This phase envisaged the time required to constitute the actors' commitments to the formulated actions, as well as when their implementation should start and finish. 7.7. Phase 7. Evaluation An accompanying evaluation informs the actors, during each sequence, whether or not the objectives have been achieved. The evaluation also enables them to learn lessons from the conduct of the exercise, to define complementary actions and to envisage follow-up or remedial steps. The evaluations also make it possible to judge the adequacy of the exercise's initial objectives, its evolution and results. Of course, these are references to a modeland has no more value than other models in progress. However, these are few and far between because unfortunately, not all of the foresight teams, sponsors or operators formalise the processes they use. The foresight cycle developed, however is original in several ways. Firstly, it is based on generic work and not methods. Methods must be chosen according to needs. Moreover, these methods can be found at different levels. For instance, exploratory scenarios could help to construct a foresight diagnosis insofar as they identify possible futures, but they could also be usefully employed to determine long-term issues. The foresight workshops are generally employed at different levels: diagnosis, issues, common vision, etc. Secondly, it focuses on the contribution of participants in all the steps that have to be taken, clearly placing regional foresight under the scope of a deliberate process and as a governance tool. Thirdly, it shows and insists on the fact that the foresight process does not end with the actual foresight phase; it fundamentally integrates strategy, including implementation, and therefore direct action. Our perception of the strategy is thus highly demanding since it considers that the strategy consists of the definition, coordination, implementation and adjustment of the operational objectives, the progress made as well as all the suitable actions and means, aimed at achieving the ultimate aims of an organisation or a region. 4. It is particularly well-suited to analyzing and preparing for the process of sustainable development and has been particularly useful in implementing ‘local Agenda 21 s’. Several other initiatives of this nature exist throughout the world which establish the necessary ties between foresight and sustainable development. A great deal, however, still remains to be done. Foresight may contribute towards renewing the approach to sustainable development by placing greater value on the systemic and holistic approach of this type of development which, as we have seen, is one of its founding pillars. This will allow a move away from the simplistic three pillar structure—economic, ecological, social—or even its four or five pillars, if you add culture or governance. Taken as a complex system, the variable or the territory in the interests of sustainability could be treated with adequate techniques. Therefore this has probably been the major problem (and still is) of sustainable development if Maurice Strong is to be believed. He considered that, due to a lack of tools, we are still not heading in the direction of sustainable development. But our tools for managing these activities are not systemic. They manage things and phenomena in a compartmentalized way. We must put in place tools that are capable of managing human activity in a systemic way at national as well as global level [51] This means, of course that futurists themselves are still learning the systems of fate…

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