Bellagio Workshop on Horizon Scanning
May, 2010
Martin feldstein, fulvio conti, josette sheeran, paolo savona, josé angel gurria

Rockefeller Foundation hosted an international workshop on Horizon Scanning and Future Thinking at its centre in Bellagio, Italy. The workshop was to launch the Searchlight programme of the Foundation to identify emerging trends that impact the lives of poor populations around the world. Think tanks from North America, Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Asia participated in the workshop. 

The workshop discussed methods for trends monitoring, as well as substantive issues which are emerging on the horizon in different parts of the world. The participating organisations, including SFG, prepare a monthly newsletter on emerging trends in their respective regions. The Foundation uses them as input for strategic decision making. 

The Bellagio Workshop identified key issues including aging in East Asia, urban resilience in South and South East Asia, problems of small farmers, water scarcity in different parts of the world and its implications for food security, ICT revolution in Africa, migration issues on the US-Mexico border, demographic changes as important emerging issues. A presentation on Africa brought out very interesting facts about reducing role of men in the African society and growing role of mobile phones in financial transfers. A presentation on Singapore illustrated the need for foresight in health care planning and the use of innovative insurance schemes, blending public and private resources. A presentation on South Africa introduced the concept of peace parks for the preservation of nature in transboundary zones. A presentation on social media exposed the internet as both a positive and negative force of change. 

Martin feldstein, fulvio conti, josette sheeran, paolo savona, josé angel gurria

The participants observed that many challenges are common to different parts of the world. In particular, the challenge of urban resilience and water scarcity plagues Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. The participants also discussed if the commonality of challenges around the world represents a global systemic crisis. They emphasised the importance of innovation in responding to the crisis at all levels. 

The participants spent an evening with the Scholars-in-Residence at the Bellagio Centre.