PLACARD Foresight workshop – reducing vulnerability to climate-related hazards

National Met Service (ZAMG), Vienna

Thirty five experts from three different science, policy and practice communities – CCA, DRR and foresight – joined us to explore whether foresight can help to reduce climate vulnerability. The answer was positive: combining qualitative and quantitative foresight methods in visioning exercises can help to integrate the two issues.

The diversity of participants led to very active discussions and break-out groups that focused on risks and possible integrated response strategies. Through an exploratory exercise, we also examined the implications of global megatrends when they combine with the unexpected impacts of extreme weather events.

Bringing the three communities together is a starting point: the workshop recommended seeking follow-up opportunities for connecting CCA & DRR using foresight methods, through research projects and by integration  into projects working with stakeholders.

Foresight thinking is already used by CCA practitioners and policymakers through the long time-horizons in climate scenarios, and in accounting for uncertainties. However, qualitative methods would complement the focus on quantitative research currently used, and so widening the perspective.

Building foresight capacity in the DRR community may be more significant, shifting attention from emergency planning and response to prevention. We need to change people’s perceptions about risks and vulnerability, and showcase the benefits of foresight thinking in decision-making, as well as highlighting the risks of not considering future change. Qualitative foresight methods may also provide better opportunities to stimulate engagement with decision-makers and stakeholders than complex quantitative methods, which often require a higher level of scientific knowledge and skills.

If you already include foresight approaches, methods or tools in your DRR or CCA work, or would like to be involved in future activities, please let us know.

Markus Leitner, Rob Swart and Tiago Capela Lourenço

Anita Pirc Velkavrh, Foresight and sustainability group, Integrated assessment programme

Simona Pedde, Kasper Kok

Barbara Chimani

Major Andreas Peer, Johannes Goellner, National Defence Academy

Tobias Lung, European Environment Agency