Foresight Network (2020-2023)

  • Lead: UNESCO
  • Reporting to: High-level Committee on Programmes

At its thirty-seventh session in April 2019, HLCP supported the creation of an informal network to promote the sharing of foresight-related experiences and expertise. Subsequently, at its thirty-eighth session (October 2019), the Committee welcomed the establishment of the informal HLCP Strategic Foresight Network (see terms of reference), led and coordinated by UNESCO, and agreed to utilize it to inform HLCP’s analytical work. 

The Network, which was operated under the umbrella of HLCP from early 2020 into 2023, sought to promote and support foresight capacities across the UN system and foster cross-agency and system-wide collaboration. It functioned as an informal platform for HLCP member entities experienced or interested in strategic foresight, with the aim to:

  • Promote sharing and cross-fertilization of experience, approaches and tools, and best practices and lessons-learned to strengthen the shared understanding of and collective capacity for applying foresight approaches to efforts by the UN system.   
  • Encourage networking, mutual learning, and synergies among senior-level officials engaged in strategic foresight, as well as between them and relevant external experts as appropriate.
  • Provide future-aware analyses and perspectives on topics of system-wide relevance, through collective futures-thinking and joint foresight exercises as appropriate, to inform, enrich, and “futures-proof” the work of HLCP/CEB, as well as other pertinent UN mechanisms as relevant.
  • Support HLCP’s efforts to contribute to a culture of “futures-orientation” and promote “futures literacy” of UN system staff through the sharing of foresight-related information and experience arising from the Network’s efforts.

The Network also contributed to HLCP’s work on duties to the future with the aim to help foster long-term planning and intergenerational thinking within the United Nations system through concrete futures and foresight activities. In that regard, complementary activities were implemented with the participation of the core group on duties to the future:

As part of the Network’s activities, additional futures masterclasses covering Horizon Scanning, Scenarios, Speculative Futures and Foresight for System Change, were launched.

At its 45th session HLCP approved the proposal for a gradual transition of the HLCP Foresight Network towards a more open United Nations Foresight Community of Practice, led by the United Nations Futures Lab and coordinated by UNESCO. The Community of Practice operates alongside the other UN 2.0 communities on innovation, data and behavioral science that support the Secretary-General’s vision to strengthen United Nations capabilities to better address the challenges of the twenty-first century.   

  • Foresight
  • Innovation
  • High-Level Committee on Programmes (HLCP)


  • Informal HLCP Strategic Foresight Network TORs.pdf

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