Methods and practice of applying environmental foresight: analytical review

Mariia Yu. Zanizdra


The new industrialization and digitalization of the world economy, the high level of uncertainty and complexity of cause-and-effect biosphere relationships define a significant time lag in emergence of negative consequences, caused by anthropogenic interference in ecosystems. Environmental foresight as a method of early identification of potential challenges and risks, associated with the environmental issues of economic growth, allows to increase the flexibility and speed of anti-crisis response, the national development strategy’s validity and effectiveness.

Therefore, the analysis of the accumulated experience of environmental foresight practice, the identification of the most common approaches and methods, revealing their strengths and weaknesses, a clear and objective view of current priorities and environmental markers at the global and national level are of particular importance.

The paper provides an overview of individual long-term and large-scale projects of environmental foresight in a number of foreign countries. These include: strategic studies by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, analytical reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. The horizon scanning results of global environmental challenges in 2010 and 2019 were presented.

An approach to assessing the "environmental dimension" of sustainable development in the Foresight of Ukrainian economy framework was considered. The promising economic clusters foresight was based on the Delphi method and SWOT analysis of the Ukrainian economy in terms of developing its competitive potential.

The review showed that, despite the extensive foresight tools (up to 30 varieties), the most universal and frequently used, including in the environmental sphere, are methods of horizon scanning, the Delphi method and scenario analysis. These methods are widely known, have been successfully tested in such areas as military intelligence, public policy development, strategic business planning, and continue to improve and evolve.

Their general methodological limitation is the subjectivity of expert assessments. However, this to some extent compensates through attracting a wide range of specialists and new opportunities, provided by the digital economy. These include free access to online libraries, statistical databases, websites of national and international organizations, remote communication tools, and "trainable" search engines on the Internet.


environmental foresight, horizon scanning, environmental challenge, Delphi method, scenario analysis

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