Policy makers are confronted with new and extraordinary developments caused by complex economical, ecological and societal changes which might accelerate even more in the next years. "Foresight" is an umbrella term for different methodological approaches to prepare organisations in time for potential developments in the future or new, unknown challenges in the present. It aims at identifying risks and possibilities as early as possible to maintain a sphere of influence especially for environmental policies. Systematic, multi-disciplinary research and analysis processes with different methods are central for Foresight. Scenarios in this context are mostly quantitative, model-supported approaches. They are typical instruments used in Futurology. Supposed frame conditions and different options for actions like "business as usual", compared to pro-active actions, are the starting points. From here, several prospective variants of developing ecological processes or societal systems emerge. It is important to note that Foresight today is not only about probable trends in the future, but also about trend reversals, "weak signals" and occuring or growing topics.
The main reasons for the construction of a Horizon Scanning System are the apparent acceleration of ecological processes on the one hand and socio-economic changes on the other hand. For politicians, this raises the question of whether reactive breathlessness can be countered by earlier problem solving.
The project aims at supporting and stimulating the emerging political and social debate on resource policies from a political science, legal and economic perspective. For this purpose the discussion on targets and indicators will be analyzed and options identified for selecting, operationalizing and prioritizing targets on resource policy.
The project aims at expanding the period of time covered by Germany’s Sustainability Strategy to the year 2030 and at sketching out the development until 2050. To do this, major issue areas and challenges need to be identified, and strategies and sub-targets for their implementation have to be developed.
Currently, an environmentally recyclable concept of a socio-ecological, sustainable growth and social model is missing, which would be a reference point for future economic and social prosperity and corresponding transformation processes. With this background, the main point of this study is the technical analysis and discussion of the following aspects:
1) theoretical and practical approaches of ecological and sustainable-oriented social and economic models – based on a national or macro-economic view.
2) conceptual and empirical reform efforts for the measurement of social welfare and economic prosperity.
The project "Scenarios for an integrated sustainable development policy using the example of the Sustainable City 2030" contributes to the development of strategies for the design of sustainable urban living environments by applying empirically based and participative scenario methods.
The effects of environmental tax reforms on economic growth, economic competitiveness, employment, environmental quality and quality of life are at the heart of this programme.