Development of a Forecasting Framework and Scenarios to Support the EU Sustainable Development Strategy




Policy-oriented research, Scientific support to policies, Integrating and Strengthening the European Research Area






Background information from the Description of Work

The challenge addressed by this project is to develop a framework for creating sustainability scenarios, which integrate different environmental topics such as water, soil, resource use etc. In the general context of the EU Sustainable Development Strategy and to comply with the specific needs of Impact Assessments the European Comission and DG Environment in particular need robust and scientifically sound forecasting framework to develop harmonised middle and long term (2015-2030) baseline and alternative policy scenarios.

FORESCENE will develop an analytical framework for consistent environmental sustainability scenario building (forecasting, backcasting, simulation) in areas such as water, soil, biodiversity, waste and natural resources. Problem issues and priority policy fields such as agriculture, infrastructures/land use, industry/economy will be selected in close contact with the EU Comission. The project will focus on backcasting, to identify different scenarios leading to achievement of future targets.


  • describe the chosen environmental problems, review policy objectives and indicators, and determine the cross-cutting driving forces;

  • develop core elements of integrated sustainability scenarios (goal definition);

  • determine measures and processes to be considered for change (pre-backcasting);

  • address quantitative and qualitative parameters for measurement (parametrization);

  • develop a Business-As-Usual (BAU) scenario framework and example projections (forecasting);

  • develop alternative scenarios (incl. backcasting);

  • check the options for modelling, and

  • work out conclusions.

To integrate these eight steps FORESCENE will organize a series of workshops to involve DGs and stakeholders, to integrate knowledge on (a) cross-cutting drivers of various environmental problems and priority policy fields, and (b) to define essentials for integrated sustainability scenarios in terms of goals and cross cutting policy measures. Further experts will be involved at various stages of the project. The project will result in recomendations for future policy development with regard to the EU's Sustainability Development Strategy and the framework for Impact Assessments and concrete proposals for the use and extension of existing simulation models.

FORESCENE will interact with the parallel ongoing TranSust.Scan project, since there is substantial complementarity between both projects as to the topics and methods.

Project Duration:

December 2005 - November 2008

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Last update: 30/1/09 -