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Strategic Foresight with Scenario Planning for Human Mobility in the Context of Climate Change

GCM Objectives

GCM Guiding Principles*

*All practices are to uphold the ten guiding principles of the GCM. This practice particularly exemplifies these listed principles.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Dates

2017 - 2023

Type of practice

Strategy/framework

Latest content

Country:

Regions:

Summary

People in many regions of the world are already directly affected by rising sea levels, more frequent and severe extreme weather events, droughts and other impacts of climate change. These climate-related developments compel people to leave their homes and countries of origin. Governments and regional organisations in affected countries are therefore developing new approaches and measures to address migration, displacement and planned relocation induced by climate change in an appropriate manner. The German Government, represented by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), supports its partners in this process. Commissioned by BMZ, the Global Programme Human Mobility in the Context of Climate Change implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) supports both national and regional partners in the Caribbean, the Pacific and the Philippines, the Horn of Africa and in West Africa in preparing better for climate- and disaster-induced migration and displacement. A central method that has been or will be used in all partner regions that helps being better prepared for the future is scenario planning. Scenario planning is a forecasting instrument that helps to develop and discuss a diverse set of possible futures. Using this method, future scenarios can be developed systematically and transparently. The scenarios not only demonstrate how a hypothetical situation may arise in the future but also identify pathways that lead to them. On this basis, participants can identify opportunities to intervene and influence the process at each stage.

Collaborators

Main Implementer

Government of Germany

Other Organizations

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

Partners

Commission on Population and Development Philippines
Intergovernmental Authority on Development
Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Commission
Pacific Islands Forum

Benefit and Impact

GIZ’s Global Programme Human Mobility in the Context of Climate Change uses the method of scenario planning with its partners to explore pathways and solutions to climate change related mobility. In the Caribbean, for example, four workshops were organised jointly with the Commission of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). The workshops involved participants from divisions within the Commission, such as environment, health, social affairs, justice and regional integration, and from different management levels as well as representatives from different OECS Member States. The workshops encouraged the participants to share their knowledge and to learn together about climate-induced migration, both within the OECS Commission as well as between the Commission and its Member States.

The participants developed scenarios for climate-induced human mobility in the OECS region for the year 2025 and graded these according to their plausibility. Based on these scenarios, participants discussed alternative ways to prepare for an uncertain future and developed ideas on how to influence potential pathways. Depending on the design of each scenario planning exercise, different GCM Guiding Principles are met. For example, in one of the conducted workshops, gender focal points of the partnering institution were invited explicitly to ensure gender-responsiveness.

The findings of the scenario workshops and the understanding of strategically addressing human mobility in the context of climate change into the Commissions planning led to the development of a Strategic Plan 2020-2023: Human Mobility in the Context of Climate Change (HMCCC) and is now guiding the Commissions approach on the topic of HMCCC. One of its objectives is to strengthen regional mechanisms to ensure fair and effective management of mobility.

Key Lessons

Scenarios do not need to be probable but plausible: Probability is usually an indicator for certainty and therefore less helpful with respect to preparing for uncertainty. In order to explore and delineate the room of possible developments, scenarios developed through scenario planning are diverse and go beyond best- and worst-cases. Scenarios do not have any claim to predict what will happen, however, scenarios help to understand what is plausible to happen if conditions (fundamentally) change. Therefore, they cannot determine a strategic decision or reduce uncertainty of the future. However, scenarios can inform the decision-making process and can help to take strategic decisions under uncertainty.

Scenario planning builds capacity. Participants gain valuable insights from carrying out the exercises in a scenario workshop that usually lasts several days. They gain relevant knowledge, new perspectives and different – and sometimes contradictory – views on the topic in question. They explore alternative futures and interpret them. They generate initial ideas about managing uncertain trends and develop a proactive approach to challenging and sometimes frightening ways ahead.

Recommendations(if the practice is to be replicated)

Use scenario planning as a catalyst for exchange: As all strategic foresight methodologies, scenario planning itself cannot deliver definite results or solutions. People create solutions and scenario planning brings people together to develop ideas how to deal with uncertain futures. Scenario planning workshops can therefore also be seen as a communication platform.

Make use of the whole range of expertise and diversity: Combining the right group is an essential success factor of any scenario planning project. If done in an organizational development, the groups should consist of participants from all relevant units, ideally including top management and working level. This facilitates a holistic view and spreading the results in different units.

Innovation

While the method to develop a range of scenarios to describe possible futures is not new, its application to human mobility in the context of climate change in specific regional policy settings is innovative.
The method is highly apt to deal with a “VUCA-“world (a world were volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity are decisive features). Both, climate change and migration patterns and especially their interaction is highly complex – using scenario planning accounts for the unpredictability of specific movements and extreme weather events. The out-of-the-box thinking promoted by this method helps to explore innovate pathways and fosters system thinking.

Date submitted:

29 January 2022

Disclaimer: The content of this practice reflects the views of the implementers and does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations, the United Nations Network on Migration, and its members.

 

 

Strategic Foresight with Scenario Planning for Human Mobility in the Context of Climate Change

GCM Objectives

Dates:

2017 - 2023

Type of practice:

Strategy/framework

Latest content

Country:

Regions:

Summary

People in many regions of the world are already directly affected by rising sea levels, more frequent and severe extreme weather events, droughts and other impacts of climate change. These climate-related developments compel people to leave their homes and countries of origin. Governments and regional organisations in affected countries are therefore developing new approaches and measures to address migration, displacement and planned relocation induced by climate change in an appropriate manner. The German Government, represented by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), supports its partners in this process. Commissioned by BMZ, the Global Programme Human Mobility in the Context of Climate Change implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) supports both national and regional partners in the Caribbean, the Pacific and the Philippines, the Horn of Africa and in West Africa in preparing better for climate- and disaster-induced migration and displacement. A central method that has been or will be used in all partner regions that helps being better prepared for the future is scenario planning. Scenario planning is a forecasting instrument that helps to develop and discuss a diverse set of possible futures. Using this method, future scenarios can be developed systematically and transparently. The scenarios not only demonstrate how a hypothetical situation may arise in the future but also identify pathways that lead to them. On this basis, participants can identify opportunities to intervene and influence the process at each stage.

Collaborators

Main Implementer:

Government of Germany

Other Organizations:

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

Partners:

Commission on Population and Development Philippines
Intergovernmental Authority on Development
Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Commission
Pacific Islands Forum

Benefit and Impact

GIZ’s Global Programme Human Mobility in the Context of Climate Change uses the method of scenario planning with its partners to explore pathways and solutions to climate change related mobility. In the Caribbean, for example, four workshops were organised jointly with the Commission of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). The workshops involved participants from divisions within the Commission, such as environment, health, social affairs, justice and regional integration, and from different management levels as well as representatives from different OECS Member States. The workshops encouraged the participants to share their knowledge and to learn together about climate-induced migration, both within the OECS Commission as well as between the Commission and its Member States.

The participants developed scenarios for climate-induced human mobility in the OECS region for the year 2025 and graded these according to their plausibility. Based on these scenarios, participants discussed alternative ways to prepare for an uncertain future and developed ideas on how to influence potential pathways. Depending on the design of each scenario planning exercise, different GCM Guiding Principles are met. For example, in one of the conducted workshops, gender focal points of the partnering institution were invited explicitly to ensure gender-responsiveness.

The findings of the scenario workshops and the understanding of strategically addressing human mobility in the context of climate change into the Commissions planning led to the development of a Strategic Plan 2020-2023: Human Mobility in the Context of Climate Change (HMCCC) and is now guiding the Commissions approach on the topic of HMCCC. One of its objectives is to strengthen regional mechanisms to ensure fair and effective management of mobility.

Key Lessons

Scenarios do not need to be probable but plausible: Probability is usually an indicator for certainty and therefore less helpful with respect to preparing for uncertainty. In order to explore and delineate the room of possible developments, scenarios developed through scenario planning are diverse and go beyond best- and worst-cases. Scenarios do not have any claim to predict what will happen, however, scenarios help to understand what is plausible to happen if conditions (fundamentally) change. Therefore, they cannot determine a strategic decision or reduce uncertainty of the future. However, scenarios can inform the decision-making process and can help to take strategic decisions under uncertainty.

Scenario planning builds capacity. Participants gain valuable insights from carrying out the exercises in a scenario workshop that usually lasts several days. They gain relevant knowledge, new perspectives and different – and sometimes contradictory – views on the topic in question. They explore alternative futures and interpret them. They generate initial ideas about managing uncertain trends and develop a proactive approach to challenging and sometimes frightening ways ahead.

Recommendations(if the practice is to be replicated)

Use scenario planning as a catalyst for exchange: As all strategic foresight methodologies, scenario planning itself cannot deliver definite results or solutions. People create solutions and scenario planning brings people together to develop ideas how to deal with uncertain futures. Scenario planning workshops can therefore also be seen as a communication platform.

Make use of the whole range of expertise and diversity: Combining the right group is an essential success factor of any scenario planning project. If done in an organizational development, the groups should consist of participants from all relevant units, ideally including top management and working level. This facilitates a holistic view and spreading the results in different units.

GCM Guiding Principles*

*All practices are to uphold the ten guiding principles of the GCM. This practice particularly exemplifies these listed principles.

Innovation

While the method to develop a range of scenarios to describe possible futures is not new, its application to human mobility in the context of climate change in specific regional policy settings is innovative.
The method is highly apt to deal with a “VUCA-“world (a world were volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity are decisive features). Both, climate change and migration patterns and especially their interaction is highly complex – using scenario planning accounts for the unpredictability of specific movements and extreme weather events. The out-of-the-box thinking promoted by this method helps to explore innovate pathways and fosters system thinking.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Date submitted:

29 January 2022

Disclaimer: The content of this practice reflects the views of the implementers and does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations, the United Nations Network on Migration, and its members.

 

 

*References to Kosovo shall be understood to be in the context of United Nations Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).