The Forward Thinking Platform offers an open space for exchanging and debating about the futures of agriculture and rural development and what they mean for agricultural research. 

There are also Foresight Working Groups operating as Forums, which are accessible to those who are engaged in forward thinking activities and want to improve collective knowledge through active and regular contributions. Three Working Groups have been established following after a Foresight Exchange Workshop held in Beijing in October 2011. The topics they respectively address are: “farming patterns of the future”, “future linkages between production and consumption of agricultural products” and “future of land use changes”. A fourth Working Group will integrate their advances.

In addition, Foresight Exchange Workshops (FEW) are periodically convened to facilitate direct interactions among the Group Members, sharing results, comparing methods, discussing controversies arising from their field experiences. Three FEWs have been organized. 

  1. The first Foresight Exchange Workshop (FEW1) was held in Beijing, China in October 2011. The workshop brought more than 30 people together and provided the opportunity for thinking forward about the nexus between agiculture and environment.   
  2. The second Foresight Exchange Workshop (FEW2) was held in Punta del Este in October 2012. 
  3. The third Foresight Exchange Workshop (FEW3) took place in Montpellier from June 3 to 5, 2014. It gave the members of the Forward Thinking Platform, a chance to meet personally, exchange and work on collective products. This workshop followed the International Encounters on “Family Farming and Research” organized in Montpellier, June 1 to 3 by Agropolis International, GFAR, WRF, CGIAR with the support of the French Government. This made possible the participation of farmer organizations in the FEW3, as many of them were invited to attend the Encounters.

At the end of 2011, GFAR initiated a worldwide Inventory on Foresight Activities related to the future of agriculture, rural development and farming systems. The inventory had two main objectives:

  1. to develop a database on ongoing forward thinking activities in the framework of the Global Foresight Hub of GFAR
  2. to provide solid ground for the preparatory work of the foresight session at the GCARD2

Preparation for GCARD2

The preparation of the GCARD2 foresight session started in September 2011 under the supervision of the GCARD Organising Committee and technical implementation by a team including the GFAR Secretariat (R. Bourgeois, A. Maru) and ILAC (J. Ekboir; C. Sette) and facilitators from KIT (M. Wongtchowski; G. Baltissen). The process included two major stages, layout design and preparatory work and included preparation of the Inventory on Foresight Activities, production of the Database on ongoing forward thinking activities, production of the briefs and a full report The State of Foresight in Food and Agriculture and the Road Towards Improvement.

Database on ongoing forward thinking activities: The results of an electronic survey (done between December 2011 and January 2012 with 1,136 responses) indicated that 411 organizations were engaged in foresight and activities are documented in some form. The survey showed that the respondents engaged in foresight activities were affliated with universities and government institutions; were in senior management positions (Latin America, Europe and North America mainly), and were doing foresight and future scenarios primarily in agricultural production, markeets and land use. The survey collected over 300 documents, as well as suggestions about professionals to be contacted from the private and public sectors and links to other organizations engaged in foresight activities.The analyses and interactions have fed into the work of the Global Foresight Hub, especially the Forward Thinking Platform. 

Foresight write workshops: As part of the Inventory on Foresight Activities, a series of foresight studies were identified, analyzed and selected to be further discussed at three write workshops. GFAR, in collaboration with Institutional Learning and Change Initiative of the CGIAR – ILAC, were the organizers of the workshops, which aimed to produce individual concise documents, which highlighted the key foresight messages and learning to be shared at the GCARD2 meeting in Punta del Este, Uruguay.

The three workshops were held at the following locations:

  1. Foresight Write Workshop  Rome, June 2012 (Briefs
  2. Foresight Write Workshop  Bangkok, July 2012 (Briefs)
  3. Foresight Write Workshop  San Jose, July 2012 (Briefs

Pre-workshop documents and a summary results of all three workshops are attached at the bottom of this page, in PDF documents. 

The most illustrative case studies were presented at a Foresight Breakout Session at GCARD2. A global survey for e-feedback started on 26 September 2012. 

File attachments:  prospectus_write_workshops_on_agricultural_foresight.pdf folleto_talleres_regionales_de_escritura_sobre_prospeccion_agricola.pdf outline_writeshop_cases.pdf outline_writeshop_cases_spanish.pdf outline_writeshop_regional_priorities.pdf terms_of_reference_participants.pdf matrix_table_forward_thinking_updated_1_oct.xlsx final_report_lessons_learned_3_write_workshops_kit.pdf