UNDP’s third wave of interest in foresight and futures began in the 1980s and was revisited in the 1990s. This time, leveraging on opportunities presented by recent advancements in technology and the potential of big data to contribute to changing perspectives about development.
UNDP’s particular interest in participatory foresight also coincides with increasingly widespread attention and focus on greater citizen engagement in policymaking and democratic governance. In the current global context, UNDP hopes to seize the opportunities foresight presents to:
- Help developing countries build resilience and capacities for preventive rather than post-facto action;
- Adapt to the changing demands of its clients and partners who increasingly seek futures-based scenarios and pathways of planning and intervention; and
- Strengthen its “global public good” value by positioning itself to offer foresight solutions.
This manual features a selection of methods and techniques suited for framing development or policy discussions, but there are many methods and techniques available that are considered part of foresight and futures analysis. These span the gamut from long-term processes and quantitative data collection/analysis to participatory workshops and qualitative assessment of narratives.