Scenarios: A social learning case by Joost Vervoort


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Presented by Joost Vervoort at a climate event in Brazil 2014.

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Scenarios: A social learning case by Joost Vervoort

  1. 1. Scenarios: a social learning case Joost Vervoort, Scenarios Officer, CGIAR programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security, Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford
  2. 2. Inclusive social learning in policy • Need to engage with and learn with uncertainty • Need for inclusive decision-making processes • Decision-making to be linked across levels and sectors • Knowledge: multiple perspectives to help tackle uncertainty, complexity • Legitimacy: the voices of vulnerable, less powerful to be heard • Action: those who can make change to learn
  3. 3. Scenarios • Scenarios are multiple plausible futures • What-if stories about the future, to be told in words, numbers, images… • Scenarios explore crucial future uncertainties – context! • Not predictions - complex systems thinking
  4. 4. Scenarios as a social learning tool “Survey and interview data indicate that (..) participatory scenario workshops built and strengthened relationships, enhanced participants' understanding of other perspectives, and triggered systemic thinking” Johnson et al. 2012
  5. 5. CCAFS scenarios program • Combined socio-economic and climate scenarios developed for six global regions: East and West Africa, South and Southeast Asia, Andes and Central America • Stakeholder-driven; quantified through agricultural economic models; linked to IPCC community’s Shared Socio-economic Pathways • With 240 partner organisations including (and supported by) FAO, UNEP WCMC, Oxfam, regional economic bodies, regional and national stakeholders • Goal: scenarios help decision-makers develop better national and regional policies, investments and institutional structures, supported by key global and regional actors Chaudhury et al. 2013, Vervoort et al. 2014
  6. 6. East Africa: four socio-economic scenarios
  7. 7. Social learning in the scenarios program • The scenarios include diverse actors, are based on their collective inputs; new groups of people review, criticize and adapt the scenarios • Learning by using and experimenting • Participants report broader systemic understanding, sharing of perspectives, ability to explore future uncertainties and plan strategically • Are we doing things right? (testing plans) • Are we doing the right things? (exploring options, priorities) • What is the right thing to do? (new roles, networks, institutions) Wilkinson and Eidinow, 2008
  8. 8. The scenarios program as social learning • From two-factor to multi-factor approach • From developing scenarios to using scenarios • From single intervention to diverse demand- driven impact pathways (81 globally) • From centrally organized to growing regional networks • Responding to a need expressed by regional and national actors to develop internal strategic capacity (ECOWAS, Cambodia, Pakistan, Peru, farmers’ associations) • Learning across regions • More emphasis on social learning
  9. 9. References • Vervoort, J. M., ., P. Thornton, P. Kristjanson, W. Förch, P. J. Ericksen, K. Kok, J. S. I. Ingram, M. Herrero, A. Palazzo, A. E. S. Helfgott, A. Wilkinson, P. Havlík, ., D. Mason-D'Croz, and C. Jost. accepted. Challenges to scenario-guided adaptive action on food security under climate change. Global Environmental Change. • Chaudhury, M., J. Vervoort, P. Kristjanson, P. Ericksen, and A. Ainslie. 2013. Participatory scenarios as a tool to link science and policy on food security under climate change in East Africa. Regional Environmental Change 13:389-398. • Kristjanson, P., B. Harvey, M. Van Epp, and P. K. Thornton. 2014. Social learning and sustainable development. Nature Climate Change 4:5-7. • Johnson, K. A., G. Dana, N. R. Jordan, K. J. Draeger, A. Kapuscinski, L. K. Schmitt Olabisi, and P. B. Reich. 2012. Using participatory scenarios to stimulate social learning for collaborative sustainable development. Ecology and Society 17. • Wilkinson, A., and E. Eidinow. 2008. Evolving practices in environmental scenarios: A new scenario typology. Environmental Research Letters 3:045017.